MEDICAL frontliners clarified that their call for testing and other benefits was first made in April 2020, not during the virtual press conference that they held Saturday, August 1, 2020.
Their requests, however, were left unheeded by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Department of Health (DOH).
The Philippine College of Physicians (PCP) issued this clarification in another letter addressed to President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, August 3, 2020 and stressed that they did not intend to humiliate the administration.
“Lest it be forgotten by our health authorities, the PCP sent a letter to DOH (Department of Health) sometime in April 2020 requesting that test kits be reserved and used on the HCWs (healthcare workers) who have been instructed to go on duty on a two-week rotation,” the group stated.
“Three months have passed since that time and after other requests like quarantine facilities for HCW, insurance coverage and protection from verbal castigation and physical violence to name a few have been left unanswered, we patiently held on as soldiers in battle,” they added.
Granting these requests early on would have made their “harrowing experiences bearable”, the group said.
Had they known that the President was not briefed in detail about the healthcare workers’ situation on the ground, they said they would have sought a private audience with Duterte.
The group also clarified that they did not call for a revolution. Neither did they threaten to leave their patients.
They apologized for the way their message was perceived.
“By training and our reserved nature, the likes of us are not used to giving out demands or ultimatums but if our requests and observations were taken as an assertive display of indignation, we apologize for the way the message was taken in a negative light,” they wrote.
The group said they were “taken aback and surprised” when the President, in his address to the nation aired at close to midnight Sunday, August 2, “highlighted...that we are indispensable but not irreplaceable”.