The Alliance of Health Workers called for the resignation of Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque over his outburst against medical doctors during a meeting of the government's COVID-19 response task force.
"Matagal na siya sa gobyerno, maraming pagkakataon na hindi niya sinasabi ang totoo... mag-resign para mabago naman ang ating Gabinete. At ang mga taong sinsero na lang ang ipalit," said Robert Mendoza from the Alliance of Health Workers.
(He's been in government a long time, and there have been numerous occasions when he's been untruthful... he should resign so there would be a change in the Cabinet. And replace him with someone sincere.)
"To those na hindi nakaka-intindi doon sa tindi ng aking pagdaramdam, para doon sa mga naghihirap, I apologize. But I cannot apologize for the message," Roque said, in response to calls for him to apologize to frontliners.
In a video posted by the Philippine Daily Inquirer's Marlon Ramos on Twitter that has since gone viral, Roque was seen scolding doctors while asserting that the government is also doing its part in containing the virus.
“Do not sit there as if you are the only ones right. We’re trying to achieve total health. Who wants COVID to kill people? Are you saying that only medical frontliners are concerned about the health of the people? We all want to save lives," a visibly agitated Roque said in the video.
Dr. Maricar Limpin, the president of the Philippine College of Physicians and who was reportedly the target of Roque's ire, said she didn't know the reason for the Palace official's outburst.
"I cannot understand and very surprised that that is his reaction, wala akong sinabi that can be interpreted as being arrogant," she told Super Radyo dzBB.
Dr. Antonio Dans, convenor of the Health Care Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19 (HPAAC), said they were appealing during the meeting against the implementation of the proposed granular lockdown.
Roque apologized on Friday, admitting that he got "emotional" after hearing the proposal of Dr. Limpin and Dr. Dans to impose a two-week hard lockdown.
"Kinukumpirma ko po na tayo'y naging emosyonal at pasensya naman po kayo at tao lamang," he said.
(I confirm that I got emotional. I am sorry. I'm just human)
— DVM, GMA News