BACOLOD CITY, Philippines – The Negros Occidental government reminded public hospital workers that they cannot solicit face masks and other personal protective equipment, items that are in short supply due to the increasing number of coronavirus patients.
This was stressed in a memorandum order issued by Alberto Nellas Jr of the provincial legal office (PLO) on Monday, March 23.
In the memorandum, Nellas said that reports have reached his office that doctors and medical personnel employed by the provincial government have been soliciting medical supplies and equipment from the public and private sectors.
He reminded those working for public hospitals that soliciting is “strongly prohibited” under Republic Act No. 6713, or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees particularly Section 7, Paragraph D.
Under the provision, public officials and employees shall not solicit or accept, directly or indirectly, any gift, gratuity, favor, entertainment, loan or anything of monetary value from any person in the course of official duties.
Nellas told all medical personnel of the provincial government to “course their requests for PPEs, face masks, and other medical equipment and supplies to the Office of the Provincial Administrator for the proper procurement of the same.”
He also stressed that the said behavior “shall not be tolerated and shall be dealt with through the filing of appropriate administrative and criminal cases in accordance with the law.”
Provincial Administrator Reyfrando Diaz II clarified that the medical personnel can “accept, but not solicit” equipment and supplies. “The provincial government is also accepting, but we do not solicit,” he stressed.
Diaz added, “We are getting a complaint that employees are calling specific groups asking for specific things.”
Some concerned citizens have criticized the order as not all public hospitals in the province, especially the smaller district hospitals, have enough PPE.
Bacolod reported its first coronavirus case on Friday, March 20. Western Visayas has a total of 4 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Two cases are from Iloilo, one from Bacolod, and another from Capiz province.
Across the country, there are a total of 707 confirmed cases as of Thursday, March 26. – Rappler.com
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