Frontliners must not die because of government incompetence: De Lima


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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima calls out the seemingly lack of urgency of the government in arming healthcare workers as they risk their lives daily in taking care of patients infected by the novel coronavirus.

Reports as of March 31 have indicated that at least 17 physicians, most of whom are specialists, have succumbed to various complications caused by the COVID-19 disease.

“17 doktor na ang nasasawi, at karamihan espesyalista, sa hanay ng mga frontliners. At ang isa sa lumalabas na sanhi ay kakulangan ng PPEs (Personal Protective Equipment), at patuloy tayong nalalagasan dahil dito,” De Lima said.

“Bakit napakabagal ng distributions ng mga PPEs? Wala na dapat mamatay pang mga doktor at iba pang health workers dahil sa kawalan o kakulangan ng PPEs. What [they] need now is a clear plan and a coordinated yet swift deployment of needed resources,” she added.

Healthcare workers and other frontliners have also expressed their frustration for the lack of PPEs to deal with the increasing number of COVID-19 patients that are requiring vital medical assistance.

Some air their grievances online, indicating that they are using plastic garbage bags and other alternatives to enable themselves to continue serving COVID-19 positive and suspected patients.

However, in a televised appearance last March 30, Mr. Duterte said that the fallen doctors should consider themselves “very lucky”, for supposedly, offering their lives for the country.

“Sinuong sila sa isang giyera na kulang-kulang sa armas. Buong puso silang sumabak hindi lang sa udyok ng tungkulin, maging sa tawag ng bayan. At ano ang kapalit ng kanilang sakrispisyo? Empty words, lip service, mula sa presidenteng puro ngawa, walang gawa,” De Lima seethed.

“As we grieve for our fallen heroes, we rage at the incompetence and neglect that led to their deaths. They were already heroes; they need not lay down their lives,” she added.

In April 1, the Department of Health announced that about 15,000 sets out of a million ordered PPEs have already reached the warehouse of the Office of Civil Defense. However, they claim that the equipment has to go through an inspection before they can be distributed to six prioritized government hospitals.

As of this writing, at least one million people have been infected of the novel coronavirus worldwide, with a death toll of at least 51,400 persons. In the Philippines, latest numbers show a total of 2,633 positive cases of infections, with 107 deaths and 51 confirmed recoveries. (30)

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