MARCH 26, 2020 — A coalition of patients; group on Thursday criticized government officials who have been seeking special privileges to access health care at the expense of ordinary citizens as the country battles the corona virus disease.
Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel, a close ally of the President Rodrigo Duterte, became the face of privilege after he brought his pregnant wife to a hospital despite getting tested for the virus a few days earlier.
Other lawmakers, public executives, justices and top security officials also got tested for the disease even if the heath department is short of testing kit supply.
The Philippine Alliance of Patients’ Organizations (PAPO), in a statement, has added its voice to condemn the VIP treatment on many high government officials during a period when the people were restricted to their homes under an enhanced community quarantine.
“To politicians who want to be treated like VIPs, we say ‘enough,'” said PAPO in a statement.
“Some of our government officials, their family and friends cornered the COVID-19 test kits with brazen boldness, bypassing protocols, undermining key strategies to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and depriving those who most need the life-saving test,” the group said.
It also cited the incident at the Makati Medical Center (MMC) when Senator Pimentel, the second senator to have tested positive for the virus, roamed inside the hospital’s delivery room complex even if he was awaiting results of his coronavirus test.
“We feel this is a betrayal of his duty to protect the Filipino people, especially patients and healthcare workers who are in most need of our attention in this crucial time in our history,” the statement said.
The group urged public officials to follow the rules and regulations set by the national government and placed the welfare of the Filipino masses before their own.
PAPO also lauded the efforts and sacrifices of health workers in addressing the coronavirus outbreak.
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