healthcare workers

Frustrated doctors call for swift probe in PH pandemic corruption mess

Bonz Magsambol
Frustrated doctors call for swift probe in PH pandemic corruption mess

A sign indicating that the COVID-19 facility of the Advestist Medical Center in Manila is at full capacity on Tuesday, March 30, as the country recently logged an all time high of 10,016 new cases.

Photo by Rappler

(1st UPDATE) The medical groups say they could no longer compromise the ‘truth for what (we) have been conditioned to believe to be true but clearly isn't'

Outraged by alleged corruption during the pandemic, medical doctors who are the frontline soldiers in the war against COVID-19 called for “transparency, exigency, and accountability” from the government.

In a statement on Friday, October 8, several medical groups did not mince words against the government as they expressed indignation over the misuse of P67 billion worth of pandemic funds, which has been the subject of marathon congressional hearings for alleged corruption.

“The corruption and the total disregard for decency and morality have begun to permeate the Filipino soul. This is not who we are, but this is what we are going to be unless we do something about it now. Impunity has become the norm; the culture that our offspring will imbibe in the years to come is there for all of us to dread,” they said.

The statement, which was signed by at least 21 medical societies, said they could no longer compromise the “truth for what (we) have been conditioned to believe to be true but clearly isn’t, we shall not go down the slippery slope of decay as a nation.

“We are already down on the ground, made worse by the fear, helplessness and hopelessness that can paralyze us into inaction,” they said.

As the country deals with the fresh surge in infections driven by the highly transmissible Delta variant, health workers who are on the front lines continue to suffer from poor working conditions and delayed benefits. 

Frustrated health workers recently took to the streets to demand the release of their long overdue COVID-19 benefits. (READ: Overworked, underpaid health workers are walking away as Delta ravages PH)

The statement was signed by past presidents and leaders of the following medical groups:

  • Philippine Heart Association 
  • Philippine Lipid and Arteriosclerosis Society 
  • Philippine College of Physicians- Southern Luzon Chapter 
  • Philippine Obstetrics and Gynecological Society 
  • Philippine College of Surgeons 
  • Philippine College of Hematology and Transfusion Medicine 
  • Philippine Society of Hypertension 
  • Philippine Society of General Internal Medicine 
  • Academy of Filipino Neurosurgeons 
  • Solidarity of Health Advocates and Personnel with a Unified Plan to defeat COVID-19 
  • Philippine Psychiatry Association 
  • Philippine Society of Medical Oncology 
  • UP Medical Alumni Society 
  • Integrated Midwives Association of the Philippines Inc.
  • Philippine Society of Oncologists  
  • Philippine College of Chest Physicians 
  • Philippine Society of Digestive Endoscopy 
  • HPAAC Open Spaces Coalition 
  • Philippine Association of HPB Surgeons 
  • Philippine Obstetrics and Gynecological Society 
  • Philippine Neurology Association 

Read their full statement below.

In a past hearing, senators found that former presidential economic adviser Michael Yang acted as financier and guarantor for Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation, which got the biggest contracts for the government’s pandemic supplies at P10 billion so far. His name first turned up in the Senate investigation after a 2017 video showed him introducing Pharmally officials to Duterte in Davao City.

The government awarded pandemic contracts to Pharmally despite the company’s being only several months old and having just P625,000 in paid-up capital.

Duterte and Malacañang have denied that Yang influenced the award of contracts to Pharmally. – Rappler.com