Health Alliance for Democracy blasted the Department of Health for again downplaying its responsibility in the protection of health personnel. This, following the killing of Cavite Provincial Health Officer, Dr. George R. Repique, Jr. Dr. Repique is the third physician to be shot and killed within the last five months.
|HEAD together with PROJUST (Protection and Justice for Frontline Healthworkers) held a candle lighting action in front of the Philippine General Hospital on July 13 for the killing of Dr. George Repique Jr.|
In an official statement on Friday, DOH Secretary Paulyn Ubial deplored the killing and acknowledged the string of unresolved killings of doctors, but she makes no mention of what the department will do in response to this. In fact, in the five months since Dr. Dreyfuss Perlas and Dr. Shahid Sinolinding have died, no clear mechanism has been put in place to protect the other frontline health workers currently in the field.
All the DOH has done is to pass on this responsibility to local government units – an utter absence of commitment, sincerity, and leadership. While it continues to watch by idly, doctors are dying and health workers are being harassed. This is not the DOH we deserve.
|Candles lit for Dr. George.|
HEAD calls on the DOH to do the following:
1. The department should come up with a clear, unequivocal statement that it will protect its health workers at all cost and that it will work tirelessly to get justice for them;
2. It should set up a mechanism by which it can get complaints and immediately assist frontline health workers;
3. It should meet with the DILG to delineate their respective tasks and responsibilities in protecting health workers;
4. It should immediately undertake the thorough investigation of these cases as well as complaints raised by other frontline health personnel regarding harassments and threats;
5. It should insist that the PNP and DOJ bring the full force of the law against the perpetrators; and,
6. It should ask President Duterte to make a strong stance on protecting health workers, the same way that he persistently does for his soldiers.
The DOH should not simply "support efforts to obtain justice" in these killings, but should exercise clear leadership for the protection of those who serve.##