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Why is it still the frontliners’ fault? Harry Roque questions medical groups why Pres. Rodrigo Duterte was the ‘last to know’ about their request

“Pero tingin ko dapat sagutin nila: Why was the President the last to know about their demands at ipinaalam muna nila sa buong mundo bago nila ibinigay kay Presidente iyong gusto nilang mangyari?”

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque asked health workers why President Rodrigo Duterte was the ‘last to know’ about their plea for a ‘breathing’ period and suggestions for improving the country’s response to COVID-19.

On Saturday, medical frontliners united to appeal to the government to reimplement an Enhanced Community Quarantine in Mega Manila which is compromised of NCR, Central Luzon, Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon and MIMARAPOPA (Mindoro Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan).

Philippine College of Physicians (PCP), Philippine Medical Association (PMA) President Dr. Jose Santiago said during a press conference that bringing back ECQ in the mentioned area will serve as a ‘time-out’ and time to “recalibrate the government’s COVID-19 strategies.”

“We proposed that this ECQ be used as a time out to refine our pandemic control strategies, addressing the following urgent conditions: hospital workforce efficiency, failure of case finding and isolation, failure of contact tracing and quarantine, transportation safety, workplace safety, public compliance with self-protection, social amelioration,” Santiago said.

However, this ‘call’ by the medical frontliners was misunderstood by the authorities. Harry Roque even questioned why these medical groups aired the plea first before submitting their letter to Duterte.

“Ibinigay natin lahat ng gusto ng mga frontliners dahil kinikilala natin kayo bilang bagong bayani,” President spox said.

“Pero tingin ko dapat sagutin nila: Why was the President the last to know about their demands at ipinaalam muna nila sa buong mundo bago nila ibinigay kay Presidente iyong gusto nilang mangyari?” he queried.

[But for me they must answer the question: Why was the President the last to know about their demands and they announced it first to the whole world before reaching out their demands to President Duterte]

Now the medical groups are taking up the blame instead of being appreciated after the Palace turned the tables on them.

In response to the frontliners’ plea, the government declared a modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) in Mega Manila. But during the press briefing, Duterte went on a tirade against those who are planning a ‘revolution’ and warned them about it.

“Next time, huwag ninyo akong parinigrinigin 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.

Nevertheless, doctors and nurses clarified that their plea is a ‘call for help’ and not revolution.


Moreover, Roque said that Duterte felt that people were mounting a revolution since the medical workers, as well as Sen. Franklin Drilon and VP Leni Robredo, said there was a failure in the government’s COVID-19 response.

Written by Neil

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