Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has bewailed the pitiful situation of medical frontliners in the country who continue to endure sorry conditions because the government has failed again and again to protect and properly support them amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
De Lima, a social justice and human rights champion, reminded the government to not limit their actions to simply lauding the efforts of medical workers and ensure that the latter receive proper support and prioritization.
“Lauding them, and clapping for them, is not enough. Isalin n’yo sa gawa ang mga pagpupugay n’yo sa kanila. Pakinggan ang mga hinaing nila, pagmasdan ang kalbaryo na araw-araw nilang dinaranas, at tugunan ang mga ito nang kagyat at may bisa. Tama na ang pagpapa-asa,” she said.
In her Dispatch from Crame No. 849, De Lima noted that nurses of San Lazaro Hospital (SLH) recently exposed to the public their pitiful state as they are being treated as robots and not human beings.
Stressing that it was not an isolated case, De Lima shared that her office has received information that frontliners of Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center are made to endure sorry conditions but they continue to do their job despite the fatigue, the lack of adequate government support and absence of prioritization.
“They, who we laud as heroes, are now crying foul. The worst part of it all is the fact that these big hospitals are within an arm’s reach of the Department of Health – and yet, the very Department which is to stir this nation to survival, has either numb senses to realize the crisis that is happening within its very backyard, or has actually just opted to turn a blind eye,” she said.
“What does this say about how DOH is dealing with this pandemic? It is simply out of touch! Umaalingasaw na, hindi niyo pa naaamoy. Kung sa sarili niyong bakuran nangyayari ito, ano pang aasahan ng tao sa inyo?” she asked.
Last July 13, Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega reportedly said that the critical care capacity for intensive care unit (ICU) beds in the country have reached its “danger zone,” adding that they are now preparing government hospitals to adjust the number of beds.
De Lima questioned the delayed response of DOH in addressing the said situation, saying, “Ngayon niyo lang na-realize? So ngayon lang kayo maghahanda? Talaga ba?”
In assessing where the country stand in this war against an invisible and lethal virus, De Lima said the government should consider other factors “that are not in black and white coming into play.”
“Instead of boasting about the number of beds available, why don’t you get out from the safety of your offices to the ground, so you can finally see the real picture. How, despite millions in spending, our medical frontliners are purchasing their own PPEs because supplies are simply running out.
“How, despite Spokesperson Roque’s rejoicing when the country “beat” UP’s prediction, our medical frontliners are overwhelmed – overworked, underpaid, and simply not given the protection that they deserve. Even before we hit the projected 100k cases by August, our health system is already crumbling,” she said.
The total of coronavirus infections, which has reached 67,456 as of July 19, has more than tripled since June 1 when the government began easing stringent lockdown restrictions. (30)