MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday night vowed to defend health workers in the front line against the 2019 coronavirus disease (Covid-19) amid reports of discrimination and attacks.
“Yung mga front-liners, huwag kayong mag-alala (To the front-liners, don’t worry). I will support and defend you,” he said in a late night public address.
Duterte lamented how the lives of health workers were endangered, not only while battling Covid-19, but against those who wanted them harmed.
“Itong mga trabahante, mga doktor, mga nurse, health workers, attendants and all, eh hindi makauwi ng bahay, tinatapunan ninyo ng kung ano-anong mga chemicals na nakakasira ng katawan. Mas una silang mamatay kaysa ‘yung sa pasyente doon sa Covid, (These workers, doctors, nurses, health workers, attendants, they can’t go home, they’re being splashed with different chemicals that could harm their bodies)” he said.
He ordered police officers go out of their stations and secure the safety of the health workers.
“I am ordering the police to go around. Huwag kayong mag-istambay diyan sa istasyon. Maglakad kayo, tandem, at maghanap kayo ng mga taong bastos. (Don’t stay there in the stations. Walk around, in tandem, and look for rude persons),” he said.
He reminded them that health workers are precisely the people who would treat them once they get sick.
“Pagpunta mo doon sa ospital, ‘yon ‘yung doktor na binuhusan mo, ‘yon ‘yung maggagamot sa iyo sa loob ng hospital (When you go to a hospital, the doctor you poured chemicals over, that’s the person who’s going to treat you),” he said.
“So let this be a warning to all. Follow government at this time because it is really critical that we have order. And do not harm the health workers, the doctors, and everything because that is a serious crime,” he added.
Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Archie Gamboa earlier directed police to provide security to health workers, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said in a virtual presser on Wednesday.
“For the added peace of mind of our health workers, PNP personnel manning Quarantine Control Stations are under instructions to assist them and escort them to their assigned hospitals,” Nograles said.
He said the PNP is committed to apply “the full might of the law” against those who dared to harm health workers.
A male nurse was reportedly splashed with chlorine while walking along Tres De Abril Street in Cebu City last March 27.
On the same day, a front-liner in a hospital in Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat was mobbed by a group of five who splattered bleach all over his face.
There were also reports of health workers being denied rides and being asked to vacate their apartments.
Authorities threatened to take legal actions against those who discriminate health workers. (PNA)