Med community slams gov’t ‘incompetence’ in pandemic response | Inquirer News
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Med community slams gov’t ‘incompetence’ in pandemic response

/ 05:50 AM October 09, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — More than 60 leading physicians, many of them past and current presidents of top medical groups in the country, issued a statement of “indignation and intolerance” over the government’s pandemic response, denouncing the “incompetence, insensitivity and corruption” of the officials leading the effort.

Among the 69 doctors who signed the statement were former Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral, former special adviser of the National Task Force Against COVID-19 Anthony Leachon and former Philippine Heart Association president Rafael Castillo (also an Inquirer columnist).

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“[O]ur broken health systems need to be overhauled,” they said, stressing the need for “huge financial resources and human expertise in both science and technology, and the political will of our top leaders to get things done quickly.”

“[T]he global pandemic has brought to bear on the Filipino people not only the contagion of, and deaths from, COVID-19 but worse, the incompetence, insensitivity, and corruption of no less than those who are supposed to lead and protect them,” they added.

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They said “politicians and people with absolutely no competence [are] running the country. [They] abuse power with impunity, misuse and steal taxpayers’ money.”

“The so-called leaders, voted into office ‘without thinking,’ have no more shame—brazen, avaricious, sugapa (greedy), with no regard for how the nation would survive!” they added.

Senate probe backed

They also expressed support for the Senate inquiry into the government contracts awarded to an undercapitalized company, Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp.

“We support the Senate blue ribbon committee in its investigation to seek the truth and crush corruption that has severely crippled our society,” the doctors said.

They added: “Public office is a public trust. Public officials should be accountable to the people; they should serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and efficiency; they should act with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives.”

Lowest int’l ranking

The doctors’ statement came in the wake of another international report that again ranked the Philippines last in pandemic response.

But the government’s vaccine czar, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., on Thursday defended the administration’s efforts, saying the report by Japan-based business newspaper Nikkei, which found the Philippines at the bottom among 121 countries in its COVID-19 Recovery Index, was out of context.

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Context important

“Context is very important. The data used by Nikkei only covered the month of September wherein the Philippines was at the height of its fight against the highly transmissible Delta variant, while cases in other countries were going down,” Galvez said.

Nikkei’s COVID-19 index ranked the 121 countries in terms of infection control, vaccination rollout and the mobility allowed for a country’s population.

The Philippines also placed last among 53 nations in a report last month by Bloomberg on the pandemic response.

Galvez maintained that “the Philippines was able to manage and delay the entry of the Delta variant because of our effective pandemic response strategy.”

He added: “That’s why you cannot compare countries because each has a unique epidemic curve. Our cases were low when other countries were facing a surge in cases due to the Delta variant. And when Delta entered our country, that’s the time when other countries were already recovering from the Delta variant.”

Virus case update

The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday recorded 10,670 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 2,643,494.

Friday was the fifth straight day that new daily cases numbered less than 11,000.

“We are seeing that the positivity rate and admissions are also going down, that is why we pointed to that analysis already that cases are really going down,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said.

There were 118,203 active cases in Friday’s case bulletin, of which the majority or 77.7 percent were mild, 13.4 percent were asymptomatic, 5.15 percent were moderate, 2.7 percent were severe and 1.1 percent were critical.

The DOH said 7,691 patients have recovered, pushing the number of total survivors to 2,486,059.

But 191 more patients died, including 104 on Tuesday and Wednesday, for the latest death toll of 39,232. —WITH A REPORT FROM DEXTER CABALZA

For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.
What you need to know about Coronavirus.
For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

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TAGS: corruption, COVID-19, duterte, government response, Incompetence, medical professionals, Pharmally
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