Barrio doctors told to remember sworn duty as Metro Manila seeks help in virus fight

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 07 2020 04:48 PM

Barrio doctors told to remember sworn duty as Metro Manila seeks help in virus fight 1
Health workers extract blood samples from motorists at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing center in front of the Andres Bonifacio Monument along Taft Avenue in Manila City on Aug. 3, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Medical professionals from far-flung provinces who will be asked to help in the capital region's coronavirus fight should remember their sworn duty, Malacañang said Friday, after some expressed concerns on the plan.

The government is planning to pull out medical workers deployed under the "Doctors to the Barrios" program and re-assign them to Metro Manila, the country’s coronavirus epicenter, after exhausted health workers in the capital sought a "timeout."

"Kami po ay mga doktor, kami po ay nagtatrabaho sa gobyerno. May mga sinumpaan po kaming tungkulin at isa po diyan itaguyod ang kalusugan ng ating bayan," Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a Palace press briefing.

(We are doctors and we work in the government. We have a sworn duty and one of those is to care for the health of our country.)

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, meanwhile, expressed confidence in the professionalism of medical workers.

"Kapag ikaw po ay propesyunal, alam mo naman po ang gagawin mo bilang isang doctor, bilang isang medical professional. Ang trabaho po nila ay magsalba ng buhay at naniniwala naman po ako na magiging tapat sa sinumpaang katungkulan ang ating mga frontliners," he said.

(If you are a professional, you know your job as a doctor and medical professional. You know that your work includes saving lives and I am confident that they will be true to their sworn duty.)

Some barrio doctors have expressed worries that medical services in the provinces could further downgrade if they are deployed to Metro Manila.

Vergeire, however, assured them that the government would also find substitutes for them while they help contain the virus spread in the capital region.

The government also has enough safety measures in place for the substitute doctors, she added.

"Hindi ho namin sila pababayaan, kung sakali na tayo ho ay magde-deploy tayo naman ay magkakaroon ng mga safety measures para hindi sila mahahawa at di rin sila makakapanghawa," Vergeire said.

(We will not neglect them in case we deploy them. We will have safety measures so they don't get infected or infect others.)

The health department earlier said it would take advantage of the stricter lockdown in Metro Manila and nearby provinces by ramping up its hiring of health workers for the COVID-19 response.

As of Aug. 2, the government has hired 6,510 health workers out of the 9,365 approved slots for emergency hiring in 340 health facilities.