More doctors join the expression of indignation and calls to action

6 past Department of Health (DOH) secretaries
3 past DOH undersecretaries
Several past presidents and leaders of medical societies
In total, around 470 doctors (and counting since more are signifying intent to sign…)

These are the doctors who, as of this writing, have put their signatures to the strong statement expressing indignation and a call to action (updated as of 13October2021). 

A Collective Call_13 Octobe… by BlogWatch

At a press conference held the other day, these doctors repeated 6 calls to action (CTA)  which were included in their statement: 

  1. For the president NOT to obstruct the testimony of material witnesses to any investigation
  2. For all government officials to support the call for truth, ensure that the wheels of justice grind swiftly and surely, and provide testimony when sought
  3. For the Senate to complete the inquiry, with utmost diligence, to get to the truth behind the alleged corruption, then file a case before the Department of Justice (DOJ) or Ombudsman at the soonest possible time.
  4. For the DOJ to conduct an immediate, impartial, and thorough investigation of the case,
  5. For the Ombudsman to file the appropriate cases against all those responsible for any corruption
  6. For all Filipinos, regardless of political affiliation, to join hands and support the search for the truth.

 

Dr. Maricar Limpin, current president of the Philippine College of Physicians, a 10,000-strong organization of specialists in internal medicine says of their collective “sama ng loob at galit” in her opening remarks: “Ang feeling ho namin, kami po ay biktima. Pati na rin po, ang feeling namin, hindi lang kami ang biktima kung hindi pati narin ang mamamayang Pilipino na syang nagkakasakit habang naririto ho tayo sa COVID-19 pandemic .”

Dr. Maricar Limpin, current President of the Philippine College of Physicians

Now, they are exercising their collective voice to say enough is enough and to call out for the truth and necessary actions. She says that their group will not tolerate any cover-up of the truth. They call for transparency and exigency.

Different health specialists spoke one after the other to explain each of the 6 CTAs already listed above.

During the Q&A, I asked the question: “What is the effect, if any, of the refusal of the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) to be a co-signatory on your statement?” Dr. Tony Leachon said that the PMA is the umbrella organization of all organizations of doctors in the Philippines and if they do not understand the issues of the smallest healthcare workers, the magnitude of the problem, and don’t sign the statement, they don’t see the problem. He adds “…If they don’t recognize that there’s a problem, and then they turn a blind eye to it, then you are actually accomplice to perpetuating a crime, lalo na kung the highest organization na dapat magtanggol sa mga doctor…” He says that they are now taking the cudgels for the “apathy and lack of proactive measures” of the mother organization.

Dr. Anthony Leachon, past President of the Philippine College of Physicians

Dr. Limpin also added that she is still hopeful that the PMA will stand with them.

Below is the very powerful, heart-wrenching message from Dr. Eugene Ramos who gave the closing remarks to end the press conference. Even non-medical people like me, while hearing Dr. Ramos, felt the very strong emotions behind his words. I had to include it in its entirety here as quoting excerpts will not do the entire piece justice.

Please read till the end.

Dr. Eugenio Ramos, past President of the Philippine College of Physicians

Closing Statement 
Press Conference 
Council of Past Presidents 
October 11, 2021 

Ang tukoy ng forum natin ngayong umaga ay ang Indignation at Call to Action laban sa korapsyon at katiwalian sa gobyerno na gusto natin lutasin. Ang korapsyon sa gobyerno ay matagal na matagal na nating problema, sanay na tayo dito kasi ang dalas mangyari, hindi na natin alam kung kailan nagsimula o ito ba ay may katapusan. Lagi nating sinasabi at inaasam ang pagbabago, lagi tayong nagsisimula muli. Ito ngayong, magsisimula na naman tayo! 

Ngunit may nag-iba ngayon, kung hindi niyo pa napapansin. Dati, hindi sumasali – o ayaw sumali – ng mga duktor sa mga protesta na sangkot sa pulitika. Para sa mga duktor, ang trabaho nila ay manggamot, mag-alaga ng kalusugan ng bayan, tumulong umiwas sa sakit kahit sino man ang nagpapatakbo ng gobyerno. Sa pandemyang ito, maraming naglabasan na hindi maganda. Sa katunayan, masama. Masamang- masama. Kasi hindi lang hanapbuhay ang nasasakdal, buhay mismo ng tao ang nakasalalay. Teka, sabi namin, hindi na pangkaraniwang korapsyon ang nangyayari, malaking salot na ito sa bayan natin. 

Ngayon, nandito kami, nag-ngingitngit na, nguinit gusto pa ring tumulong, kung may pag-asa pa. May pag-asa pa ba ang bayan natin kung kaming mga duktor mismo ayaw pa ring makialam? Kaya ngayon, kami ay makikialam na. Health is central to life and its development. Therefore, we cannot afford to leave the nation’s health in the hands of politicians whose priorities are on something else! 

Last year, nang umarangkada ang mga kaso ng Covid sa mga ospital, hindi na kinaya ng mga ospital, ng mga nurses, ng mga duktor, tulad din ng hindi din pala kaya ng ating gobyerno. Hindi lang hindi kaya, hindi handa sa ganitong global pandemic! Kaming mga duktor at frontliners, nagtrabaho lang, sa hirap at sa kahirapan! Yong mga nagtago sa kani-kanilang bahay, hindi nila nakita ang hirap ng mga duktor at narses– kulang sa PPE, kulang sa supplies, kulang sa taong makatulong, walang tulog, walang pahinga, kulang sa sweldo, habang may humihingalo at namamatay dito at diyan. 

Noong isang taon, humingi ang mga duktor ng TIME-OUT. Hindi madali ang paghingi nito; sila pa yong humihingi ng tulong, sila pa yong minasama. (!) 

Para bang walang karapatan ang mga healthcare workers humingi ng tulong, o huminga man lang. Nangamba ang lahat, nag-dasal at hanggang ngayoy umaasa na sana mawala na itong salot na virus na ito, na malamang mas madaling mawala kesa sa salot ng korapsyon sa lipunan. 

Ngayong taon, lalong lumalala, at bakit? Kasi maliban sa COVID-19 virus na hindi na yata aalis, napabayaan, o pinabayaan o ipinaubaya sa mga tao na wala man lang malasakit sa kapwa Pilipino na nagkakasakit, namamatayan, namamatay, nagugutom dahil walang trabaho, dahil walang pambayad ng gamut, dahil kapos ang naibigay ng gobyerno. 

Ang Expression of Indignation and Call to Action na ito ay hindi lang dapat galing sa mga duktor at health sector, dapat galing sa ating lahat. Dahil sakit ng isa, buhay ng iba! Dahil kung sakitin ang Pilipino, anong klaseng Pilipinas ang sa atin? 

Kung hindi natin mabigyan ng karapatdapat na pansin at respeto ang kalusugan at buhay ng Pilipino, babagsak ang ating ekonimiya, ang seguridad at katahimikan ng ating lipunan, ang edukasyon ng ating mga anak, ang hinaharap ng ating bansa. Eh, ano? Responsibilidad nating lahat, ng pribadong sector at ng gobyerno na magtulangan tayo sa paglinis ng ating lipunan ng katiwalian, ng pag-purga ng mga bulate na mapagsarili, na walang wastong maidulot sa pag-unlad ng ating bayan. Linawin na natin ang ating pag-isip, iwaswas na natin ang mga gawaing makakasama sa nakakarami. 

Let us clear our minds of the garbage that we see, the garbage that we ourselves create and reproduce. Let’s help the good guys, and get rid of the bad ones. Once and for all, let’s do the right thing for our country…for ourselves, our families and our children. 

EUGENIO JOSE F. RAMOS, MD, MBA 
Past President 
Philippine College of Physicians, 2009 – 2010

###

 

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