Press Release
July 16, 2020

Dispatch from Crame No. 849:
Sen. Leila M. de Lima on the Pitiful Situation of Medical Frontliners


Our health sector is on the verge of collapse. Not even Presidential mouthpiece Harry Roque can hide the reeking stench of squalor and failure. Just recently, nurses of San Lazaro Hospital (SLH) exposed to the public their pitiful state - how they are treated as robots and not human beings.

This is not an isolated case. My office has received information that frontliners of Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center are likewise made to endure sorry conditions. And yet these workers in sweat-soaked PPEs still show up - day in and day out, and holding on despite the fatigue, the lack of adequate government support and absence of prioritization.

However, they, who we laud as heroes, are now crying foul. The worst part of it all is the fact that these big hospitals are within an arm's reach of the Department of Health - and yet, the very Department which is to stir this nation to survival, has either numb senses to realize the crisis that is happening within its very backyard, or has actually just opted to turn a blind eye.

What does this say about how DOH is dealing with this pandemic? It is simply out of touch! Umaalingasaw na, hindi niyo pa naaamoy. Kung sa sarili niyong bakuran nangyayari ito, ano pang aasahan ng tao sa inyo?

It took big private hospitals such as Makati Med and St Luke's - which both issued statements that they have reached their operating capacity - for DOH Usec. Leopoldo Vega to finally admit that our country's critical care capacity has hit "danger zone". But true to this administration's manifest benightedness to the struggles of health workers in government hospitals, Usec. Vega said that they are now preparing government hospitals to adjust the number of beds because "we have to be ready for this because we are in a crisis."

Ngayon niyo lang na-realize? So ngayon lang kayo maghahanda? Talaga ba? Preposterously, this statement from DOH was released even after Filipino Nurses United (FNU) revealed how SLH "converted regular wards into COVID wards with no staff to man such." You are turning our frontliners into pawns, in a game where you can so easily desert them. Wala kayong awa!

Don't just look at the data. Gumising kayo sa katotohanan. In calculating where we stand in this war against an invisible and lethal virus, you have to consider other factors that are not in black and white coming into play. For instance, what is the sense of a 30% bed capacity for COVID-19 patients when hospital staff are either quitting, being quarantined, are themselves weakened by exhaustion, and worse, dying?

Instead of boasting about the number of beds available, why don't you get out from the safety of your offices to the ground, so you can finally see the real picture. How, despite millions in spending, our medical frontliners are purchasing their own PPEs because supplies are simply running out. How, despite Spokesperson Roque's rejoicing when the country "beat" UP's prediction, our medical frontliners are overwhelmed - overworked, underpaid, and simply not given the protection that they deserve. Even before we hit the projected 100k cases by August, our health system is already crumbling.

Lauding them, and clapping for them, is not enough. Isalin n'yo sa gawa ang mga pagpupugay n'yo sa kanila. Pakinggan ang mga hinaing nila, pagmasdan ang kalbaryo na araw-araw nilang dinaranas, at tugunan ang mga ito nang kagyat at may bisa.

Tama na ang pagpapa-asa.

(Access the handwritten copy of Dispatch from Crame No. 849 here:

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