HEALTH Secretary Francisco Duque III on Thursday, April 16, ignored calls for his resignation and said he will “continue to serve the country” as it battles the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
“We will answer these allegations in due time, but right now, we will continue to be in the trenches with our health care workers and frontliners,” Duque said in a statement issued a few hours after 15 senators, including Senate President Vicente Sotto III, filed a resolution calling for his resignation.
Duque called on all sectors to work as a team, “as one country fighting for the health and safety of all”.
“I will continue to serve the country to the best of my abilities. Magtulungan po tayo (Let’s help one another),” he added.
The Department of Health (DOH) chief noted that the invisible enemy, the novel coronavirus or Sars-CoV-2, is unpredictable.
To contain the virus, he said the DOH has been able to “adapt and innovate”.
“Despite all the challenges and limited resources, DOH is making sure that we, as a nation, have a fighting chance against Covid-19,” he said.
“This is not a fight of one man or of one agency, it is a fight for all of us Filipinos,” he added.
Earlier Thursday, 15 senators called for Duque’s resignation, accusing the DOH Secretary of “failure of leadership, negligence, lack of foresight and inefficiency” in the battle against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
They said these have resulted in “poor planning, delayed response, lack of transparency, and misguided and flip-flopping policies and measures” to address the Covid-19 outbreak.
Such policies have “endangered and continue to endanger the lives of healthcare professionals, other frontliners, and the Filipino people,” the proposed resolution states.
READ: Senators call for DOH chief’s resignation
Minority Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, who is not among the authors of the proposed resolution, expressed support for the measure.
“On record na sa Pebrero hearing pa lang sa Senado ay pinuna na natin ang kakulangan sa aksyon ng liderato ng Department of Health ukol sa Covid. On record sa nasabing hearing na 'failure of leadership' ang tawag natin sa nakita natin sa naging kilos ni Duque,” Pangilinan said in a separate statement.
He noted that two months have passed, but he has not seen any improvement in the DOH’s efforts to contain the outbreak.
“Hanggang ngayon, hindi maayos ang contact tracing, ang travel restrictions, at mass testing. Kailangan ng malinaw at totoong datos para malabanan ang sakit.
Matagal-tagal nang may State of National Emergency. Kailangan ng malinaw na pagtingin sa problema, mabilis na desisyon, at mas mabilis na aksyon. Sinuman ang papalit sa kanya ay dapat may ganitong mga qualification,” Pangilinan added. (MVI/SunStar Philippines)