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While fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, medical frontliners took a blow from no less than President Rodrigo Duterte himself – a hefty price for expressing criticism of his government.
Duterte on late Sunday evening, August 2, hit the medical community after they appealed for reconsiderations to the country’s pandemic response, even going so far as to “dare” them to stage a “revolution.” (READ: Staging revolt? Medical workers tell Duterte: Our enemy is COVID-19)
“Next time, huwag ninyo akong parinig-rinigin ng revolution. Naku, Diyos ko. Iyan ang mas delikado sa COVID. Eh kung mag-revolution kayo, you will give me the free ticket to stage a counterrevolution. How I wish you would do it,” said Duterte in another late-night address.
(Next time, don’t say “revolution.” That’s more dangerous than COVID-19. If you mount a revolution, you will give me a free ticket to stage a counter-revolution. How I wish you would do it.)
Over 80 medical societies appealed for a 2-week enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Mega Manila, which Duterte didn’t fully uphold, implementing a modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) instead.
The appeal also presented solutions and key areas that the pandemic response should focus on, as the medical workforce continues to face the challenges of a frail healthcare system.
Among the issues raised were hospital workforce deficiency, transportation and workplace safety, the failure of contact tracing, and the failure of isolation.
Filipinos online were quick to denounce Duterte’s show of contempt toward healthcare workers, who have been on the front lines of the country’s battle against a public health crisis, and are among those who witness first the consequences of inadequate government plans and policies. (READ: Doctors warn Duterte: PH ‘nearing end of the line’ in coronavirus battle)
Social media personality Macoy Dubs stressed that medical frontliners have not only been overworked but also mentally fatigued in dealing with the rising cases of COVID-19.
Twitter user @keimagadia shared the ordeal that her nurse sister currently faces, shedding light on the “sad truth” for the country’s healthcare workers.
Following former COVID-19 task force adviser Tony Leachon, some social media users, including Bar 2019 topnotcher Mae Diane Azores and musician Raymund Marasigan, urged their networks to step up and heed the frontliners’ plea – when their government refuses to.
On Monday, August 3, hashtags #OustDu𓆉, which sported a custom turtle emoji, and #TANGINAMODUTERTE immediately trended on Twitter, which amassed reactions on Duterte’s remarks to healthcare workers, and the persistent lack of concrete plans to address the pandemic.
Here’s what others had to say on the matter.
On Monday, Duterte approved the Cabinet’s recommendation to provide additional benefits for healthcare workers, such as risk allowance, free transportation and accommodations, and “frequent” testing, but not before ranting his fill and taunting the medical community.
Is the government doing enough to address the frontliners’ concerns? Sound off in the comments. – Rappler.com