De Lima scores Duterte for continued neglect of healthcare workers


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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima scored Mr. Duterte for his continued neglect of healthcare workers (HCWs) in the country as he prioritizes the government’s anti-insurgency campaign over addressing the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. 

De Lima, a social justice and human rights champion, said Duterte is to be blamed for the manpower problems currently being faced by the Philippine General Hospital (PGH).

On top of the thousands of HCWs opting to work overseas, it was recently reported that 20 of the 25 volunteer doctors in the PGH have decided not to renew their contracts.

“This is truly a frustrating development as our country continues to struggle to fight off COVID-19 and jumpstart our economy,” she said in her Dispatch from Crame No. 1149.

 “The only reasonable explanation here is neglect. While Duterte is out there approving bonuses and salary increases for soldiers and policemen, he has glaringly failed to do the same for our HCWs.”

Bilyon ang budget na inilaan sa NTF-ELCAC samantalang sapilitan pa ang pagbabayad ng pinakasimpleng benepisyo ng ating mga HCW,” she added.

In an interview last Sept. 13, PGH spokesperson Jonas del Rosario reportedly said that PGH is facing manpower problems as its volunteer doctors decided not to renew their contracts, adding that it was worsened by health workers getting sick and doing mandatory quarantine due to virus exposure.

Last Sept. 1, underpaid and overworked HCWs held protest actions to demand the release of their promised benefits and the resignation of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.

“Dapat tayong mga health workers, sa panahon ng pandemya ay patuloy na inaalagaan ng ating gobyerno. Pero ang dami nang namatay, ang daming nagkasakit, ang dami nang nag-resign,” Alliance of Health Workers President Robert Mendoza said.

If more Filipinos die of the pandemic, the lady Senator from Bicol said none other than Duterte should be held responsible.

Simula pa lang, paulit-ulit na nating pinaalalahanan si Duterte na solusyong medikal ang kailangan natin, hindi solusyong militar. Subalit sa halip na tulungan at palakasin ang loob ng ating mga HCW, pagpapabaya pa ang sinukli ni Duterte sa kanilang kabayanihan,” she said.

While our hospitals are being overrun with COVID-19 patients, he spends his time prancing around, hurling cheap insults against officials investigating his government for incompetence and corruption,” she added.

De Lima further said that Duterte’s continued ineptitude in handling the COVID-19 response and failure to provide the proper support to the country’s healthcare system not only endangers the country but also holds back the nation’s recovery.

Aanhin nila ang monumento na pinapagawa ni Duterte para sa kanilang kabayanihan kung nagugutom naman ang kanilang mga pamilya at kulang-kulang ang kanilang mga kagamitan, kasama na ang mga PPE?”, she said.

“2022 couldn’t come soon enough for our countrymen who continue to suffer Duterte’s reign of incompetence and corruption,” she added. (30)

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