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Doctors to Duterte: No call for revolt, no threat to leave patients

The group of doctors who sought a two-week enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila to give health workers a respite from the rising number of COVID-19 clarified on Monday that it never called for a revolution.

In a statement, the Philippine College of Physicians its call for a "time out" last week was neither a threat nor a call for revolt.

“We were taken aback and surprised when you highlighted in your address to the nation last night that we are indispensable but not irreplaceable so we beg your indulgence and allow us to rectify this impression,” PCP president Dr. Mario Panaligan told Duterte in a letter posted on Facebook.

“If you closely review the virtual conference on August 1, there was never a call for a revolt nor was there any threat of leaving patients on their own since our oath instructs us to first do no harm to anyone who needs our help,” he added.

Duterte on Sunday approved the imposition of a modified enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila and nearby provinces after the PCP and other groups' call for an ECQ.

Duterte, however, called out the physicians for publicly airing the concern instead of telling him what they wanted. He said they demeaned the government in doing so.

Duterte also indicated that the doctors called for a revolution.

unleashed a rant against health workers, saying they could have “written a letter” or asked for an audience to request a temporary return to an enhanced community quarantine for Metro Manila instead of making a public statement.

Panaligan said the PCP "highly appreciated" what he called Duterte's "quick response" on the call for a two-week break.

He said the president took their message "in a negative light."

Panaligan said it was not the PCP's intention to humiliate the government when it called for a return to a stricter quarantine as health workers were already worn out due to the rising number of COVID-19 patients being admitted in hospitals.

“The call was for the DOH and the IATF to provide the (health care workers) a fighting chance in the war against COVID and prevent unnecessary fatalities — nothing more,” Panaligan said.

Meanwhile, Panaligan said the PCP wrote the Department of Health a letter in April, requesting for test kits to be reserved for health workers who would be on duty on a two-week rotation.

In the letter, Panaligan said the PCP highlighted the importance of having healthy and COVID-free caregivers so it can “allay anxiety and boost the morale of the frontliners when they face uncertainty.”

“Three months have passed since that time and after other requests like quarantine facilities for HCW, insurance coverage and protection from verbal castigation and physical violence to name a few have been left unanswered, we patiently held on as soldiers in battle,” Panaligan said.

“These valid requests if they were granted early on would have made our harrowing experiences bearable but for some unexplained reason, it was left unheeded by the Inter-Agency Task Force and the DOH,” he added.

Further, he said the PCP “bear no ill will and have acted without malice” towards the government, but the medical workers’ “empty cries had to be made known somehow.”

“If we just knew that your office was not briefed in detail about the situation of our workers in both government and private hospitals, we would have sought a private audience with you to settle these issues and made things clear and write,” Panaligan said.

Before lashing out against the health worker, Duterte approved the reimposition of a modified ECQ in Metro Manila and nearby areas.

Duterte also agreed with the recommendation of the IATF that a P10,000 to P15,000 sickness benefit be provided to all health workers infected with COVID-19. -NB, GMA News