Isko Moreno to health workers: If you can't be kind, you can quit

MANILA, Philippines – After receiving online complaints from Manileños, Isko Moreno has a new target for his live public callouts: unkind public health workers.

During his weekly The Capital Report live program on Facebook on Friday, August 2, Moreno called out public health workers who were "masungit (unkind)" to extend their patience, and if they cannot be kind because of various reasons, they can quit.

"Makikisuyo naman. Frontline kayo ng gobyerno in delivering services, in this case, health services. Kung hindi na kayo masaya sa trabaho 'nyo dahil kayo'y masungit na kinakaharap yung mga may sakit, kaya kayo'y nagsusungit dahil pagod na kayo, kaya kayo'y nagsusungit dahil 'di na kayo masaya sa ginagawa 'nyo, pwede naman kayong magpaalam," Moreno said.

(Just a request. You're at the frontline in delivering the government's services, in this case, health services. If you are not happy with your job and that you're unkind in facing the sick, with the reason for your being unkind is because you're tired, with the reason that you're unkind is that you're not happy, you can quit.)

Moreno said he sympathized with the people who usually went to public hospitals—the poor. After all, Moreno grew up dirt-poor in Tondo, even working as a trash boy at one point in his life. (READ: Isko Moreno: From the slums of Tondo to Manila's throne)

"Mahirap maging mahirap, lalo na kung may sakit ka na ang tanging puhunan mo lamang ay lakas ng iyong pangangatawan (It's hard being poor, especially when you're sick, as your only way for livelihood is the strength of your body," Moreno said.

The mayor then tried to extend his sympathy to health workers, saying that he also knew their struggles. Health workers in public hospitals are usually overworked and forced to complete day-long (or even longer) shifts as they face lack of personnel, medicine, and equipment.

But, Moreno said, it doesn't mean they should be harsh to their patients. (READ: How #NoToDoctorShaming posts highlight gaps in PH healthcare system)

"Totoong nakakapagod, jusko nakakapagod...pero pinasok natin ito. This is public service eh. Ano ba naman ang kaunting ngiti? (It is really tiring, my God is it tiring... but this is what we joined into. This is public service. Why don't you give even just a little smile?)" Moreno said.

Moreno then announced that the City Goverment—along with his ally vice mayor Honey Lacuna whom he noted is a doctor—has recommended for the release of P9.5 million from the city's funds to be distributed among the capital's public hospitals. The funds are set to benefit the following institutions:

"[Ito ay] pera ng taumbayan upang ipambili ng pangkaragdagang gamot at supplies sa lahat ng ospital natin... So, sa ating mga direktor... I hope magamit 'nyo para sa pangangailangan ng ating mahihirap na kababayan," Moreno said.

(This is money from our citizens to buy additional medicine and supplies for all our hospitals. To all our directors, I hope you use it for the needs of our poor fellow citizens.) – Rappler.com

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.

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