Duque cry foul over ex-health chief's remark PH '10 steps back' in pandemic response

By Deighton Acuin and Archie Villaflores

PHOTO: Philippine Star

Health Secretary Francisco Duque appealed to critics to think about the “heroism” of healthcare workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic, saying it is not right to say the Philippines is “ten steps back” in its pandemic response.

Duque pointed out the country has made developments in addressing infectious disease.

He added the country’s response is “not back on square one” but “ten steps back from step one.”

“Hindi naman siguro tama na sasabihin na ten steps backward. Please lang. Isipin naman yung malasakit nila sa healthcare workers natin na ang kabayanihan ay di mapantayan,” Duque said in an interview with Teleradyo, reacting to Former Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral’s remarks.

“Ang daming mga buhay ang nasalba, kinalinga, pinagaling. Sana naman wag ganun kalupit ang kanilang mga opinyon. Kawawa naman tayong mga lingkod-bayan na talagang halos walang patid ang paninilbihan natin,” he added.

In the same interview, the country’s health chief cited the efforts of the government such as increasing the healthcare capacity in hospitals as well as the increase in RT-PCR testing facilities.

He also said there has also been increasing in the number of COVID-19 care facilities since the onset of the pandemic. 

Furthermore, Duque said the government was able to contain the cases surge back in August last year.

“Pero syempre kailangan mo rin ng ekonomiya gumalaw kasi marami ding nawawalan ng trabaho… Ganun talaga ‘yun, babalansehin narin ‘yung ekonomiya, ‘yung kalusugan, ‘yung proteksyon laban sa COVID,” Duque said.

However, Cabral said the number of cases is again on the rise.

“The COVID-19 cases are surging, the hospitals are once again full. So are we back to square one?.. We are not back to Square one. We are ten steps back from Square one,” Cabral said in a statement posted by Dr. Tony Leachon on Wednesday.

As of March 18, there are 640,984 COVID-19 cases in the country — of which 66,567 remain active.

A total of 561,530 patients have recovered, while 12,887 died from the disease.


RELATED ARTICLE: Philippine Daily Inquirer


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