Netizens slam Cebu governor for shaming critics of steam inhalation

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Netizens slam Cebu governor for shaming critics of steam inhalation
Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia's tirades against critics of steam inhalation, which she is advocating, lands the hashtag #NoToDoctorShaming on Twitter's top Philippine trends

MANILA, Philippines – Netizens slammed Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia for shaming doctors who criticized her advocacy to promote steam inhalation to ward off the coronavirus disease.

During a virtual news briefing on Tuesday night, June 23, Garcia flashed photos of the doctors’ – as well as netizens’ – profiles and posts as she launched a long tirade against them for criticizing the provincial government’s memorandum urging its employees to practice “tuob” or steam inhalation in their workstations as part of Cebu’s fight against COVID-19.

Garcia cited Dr Dale Pasco who is reportedly pioneering a study on the effectiveness of steam inhalation in easing COVID-19 symptoms, and berated doctors who criticized the memo, including a general practitioner who said in a now-deleted Facebook post that further infection may arise because of the aerosol from the steam.

This riled Garcia who pointed out that the doctor was merely a student of Dr Pasco, who had been practicing medicine for 30years while the doctor who wrote the post had only two years of experience.

Garcia also questioned the doctor’s business in meddling with administrative matters.

Ngano man diay? Magbuot ka og unsay among policies dinhi sa Capitolyo? Akong nahibaw-an doctor ka, ngano mag apil-apil man ka diri sa administration namo dinhi?” said Garcia. “Kay ikaw, general practitioner raman diay ka…Among nakita two years experience. Two years experience unya kusog kaayo ka mangasaba. Kusog na kaayo ka manglait sa mga mang-tuob.

(So what? You’ll decide what our policies are here in the Capitol? From what I know you’re a doctor, so why are you meddling with the administration? You’re just a general practitioner…. We saw you have tw years experience yet you feel so confident berating us and insulting those who practice steam inhalation.)

Steam inhalation, particularly salt water steam, is not among the treatments approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to help ease COVID-19 symptoms. 

Not the enemy

Netizens took to Twitter to show their disapproval of Garcia’s public shaming of doctors. By Wednesday, June 24, the hashtag #NoToDoctorShaming quickly soared to Twitter’s top Philippine trends with at least 3,100 tweets.

Many slammed the unfair treatment of doctors for simply rectifying misconceptions about steam inhalation, and wondered why public funds had to be spent for “tuob kits” when no evidence has been made to show their effectivity against COVID-19. 

Others also disagreed with Garcia’s basis for questioning a doctor’s credibility based solely on his years in medical practice, without taking into consideration the years and hard work he spent on getting a medical degree.

There were those who pointed out that medical advice from a doctor with two years of experience carried more weight than the opinion of a politician with no medical  background. 

“Gov, you really should try listening to medical experts. This is a pandemic, and in case you didn’t know, your opinion as a politician on health issues do not matter,” asserted Twitter user @katheerain.

Some pointed out how the governor’s actions could further erode the morale of frontliners who are already battling exhaustion and fear of infection. They lamented how instead of thanking them for their hard work and sacrifice, the governor instead chose to publicly humiliate them.

Here’s what other netizens have to say about the matter:

It was not the first time for the governor to publicly shame a person for their critical comments. During a presscon in May, Garcia presented sheets of paper printed with Facebook comments of netizens who criticized her.  She even revealed the personal details and background information of a netizen, even going so far as delving into her marital and relationship history.

The Commission on Human Rights had reprimanded the governor for disclosing sensitive, personal, and privileged information without consent.

Cebu province counts 669 coronavirus cases so far, with 166 recoveries and 61 deaths as of posting. Cebu City has a total of 4,449 cases so far. –

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