Private hospitals' group condemns shooting of COVID-19 frontliner in Quezon

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 03 2020 08:36 PM

MANILA - A group representing some 600 private hospitals in the country on Friday denounced the shooting of a frontline worker against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Candelaria town, Quezon province.

Dr. Rustico Jimenez, president of the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines, said an ambulance driver was attacked after being accused of ferrying infected patients and parking the hospital ambulance inside a subdivision.

The driver, 51-year-old Sofronio Ramilo, was wounded on his right hand. 

"We are condemning the act done to our frontliner. Tumutulong lang po siya. Bakit babarilin pa? (He's only helping. Why does he have to be shot?)," he told radio DZMM.

Jimenez appealed to the public to not discriminate against health care workers and instead help them to get home safely.

"Sila ay nagsa-sacrifice. Huwag na po nating pagbintangan na magdadala ng infection," he said.

(They are sacrificing their lives. Let's not accuse them of bringing infection.)

In a statement released Friday, the Peter Paul Medical Center of Candelaria Inc said the suspect insisted the hospital ambulance should not be allowed to enter the subdivision because it was being used to transport COVID-19 patients.

The victim explained the vehicle was mainly used to transport hospital personnel and was also regularly cleaned and disinfected.

However, the suspect ignored the victim's explanation, shooting the ambulance driver in the hand. The victim injured one of his fingers, resulting in possible disarticulation or the separation of bones in the joint.

"Our ambulance driver is the breadwinner of his family, who in these trying times where we are at war with COVID-19, chose to bravely perform his duty beyond what is required for the sake of the community and his fellow frontliners," the hospital said.

"Our frontliners are the ones of the few obstacles to the spread and fatalities of COVID-19. It is not enough that we thank them. We need to protect them," the hospital added.

The suspect has been arrested and will face criminal complaints, police said.