MANILA—Health care workers will not be deterred from serving the public despite being castigated by presidential spokesperson Harry Roque for opposing the government's decision of easing lockdown restrictions, a doctor said Monday.
"Naku hindi po. Alam niyo, hindi ho kami magpapa-intimidate kay Sec. Roque. Gawin namin ang kailangan gawin. Tuloy ho ang pagtulong namin sa bayan," said Dr. Antonio Dans, convener of Healthcare Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19.
(Oh no. You know what, we will not be intimidated by Sec. Roque. We will do what's necessary. We will continue helping the public.)
In videos obtained by the Inquirer, Roque lost his temper during a meeting after the Philippine College of Physicians and HPAAC asked the Inter-Agency Task Force to reconsider its decision to loosen restrictions in Metro Manila.
On Saturday, the Philippines logged a record-high 26,303 coronavirus infections, its highest daily tally since the pandemic began, as it continues to battle the more contagious COVID-19 Delta variant.
“Do not sit there as if you’re the only ones right. We’re trying to achieve total health. Who wants COVID to kill people?” Roque told PCP president Dr. Maricar Limpin during the Zoom meeting.
“Are you saying that only medical frontliners are concerned about the health of the people? We all want to save lives. For crying out loud, no one in the government wants a single life lost. No one!”
“How dare you think that we are not considering steps to prevent the loss of lives?” he added.
Roque said the government was employing a whole-of-government approach, considering economic activities and the people who would go hungry because of the lockdowns.
Dans, who was at the IATF meeting, said they were not able to respond to Roque's rant after the task force called for a break.
"Pinalabas na kami sa Zoom meeting nun. Lumabas na kami ni Dr. Limpin," he said.
(We signed out from the Zoom meeting. Dr. Limpin and I signed out.)
The Cabinet member has since apologized for the incident, saying he was only human.
"That was the first time that I lost my bearing in an IATF meeting. But as I said, I may apologize and I have in fact apologized for the manner, but never for the message," he said.
For Dan, Roque should apologize to all medical frontliners.
"Tulad ng sabi ng iba, hindi ho dapit sa amin ni Dr. Limpin siya maghingi ng apology, patawad. Kailangang hingin niya sa lahat ng health-care workers yun," he said.
(Like what others said, he should not apologize to me and Dr. Limpin. He should ask that to all health-care workers.)