'Put a doctor in the Senate': More docs seek elective posts to lead pandemic response

Jauhn Etienne Villaruel, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 06 2021 03:45 PM

At least 2 medical doctors on Wednesday filed their certificates of candidacy (COC) to join the Halalan 2022's Senate race
At least 2 medical doctors on Wednesday filed their certificates of candidacy (COC) to join the Halalan 2022's Senate race

MANILA — At least 2 medical doctors on Wednesday filed their certificates of candidacy (COC) to join the Halalan 2022 Senate race, with both saying the government's pandemic response remains insufficient and medical experts now need to take the lead.

Medical doctor and lawyer Leo Olarte, the Philippine Medical Association's (PMA) current legal affairs chief and former president, appealed to Filipinos to vote for a medical professional in the legislature to properly address the unprecedented health crisis. 

"Kailangan po ng doktor sa Senado para magamot ang number one problema ng mundo at Pilipinas, ang COVID-19... The logical solution for this COVID will come from medical experts, and not from any field," Olarte said.

(We need a doctor in the Senate to cure the number problem of the world and the Philippines— COVID-19. The logical solution for this will come from medical experts, and not from any field.)

The next one who filed for her candidacy as senator was Dr. Minguita Padilla, a practicing ophthalmologist and current president of Eye Bank Foundation of the Philippines. 

"Kulang ang pagtugon sa pandemya. Inuuna ang kapakanan ng negosyo... at garapalang pagpapayaman sa kabila ng labis na paghihirap nating lahat," Padilla lamented.

(The response to the pandemic is wanting. They prioritized businesses... and blatantly making themselves rich despite our struggle.)

Padilla is part of the slate of Partido para sa Demokratikong Reporma, the party of the 2022 tandem of Sen. Panfilo Lacson and Senate President Vicente Sotto III.

Padilla said she was also tapped by opposition coalition 1Sambayan, but it has yet to finalize its lineup so she decided to go with Partido Reporma. 

Once elected, both doctors promised to spearhead a medical-based approach in responding to the pandemic. 

The government's Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has been criticized for its composition, many of them with military background instead of medical.