Press Release
April 7, 2021


World Health Day 2021 is a somber day for the country as we battle the worst COVID-19 surge in the whole of Southeast Asia.

Today, we must act on our hopes of recovery by confronting the truth: Incompetence is killing the Filipino people. The lack of humility of the IATF to acknowledge its shortcomings to this day is why our hospitals are overflowing now. If our healthcare system fully collapses, it will be the beginning of a chaotic chapter of great disease and illness. I cannot imagine how long it will take to write finish to it. Government must also be held accountable for the consequences that go beyond our COVID-19 response.

Although COVID cases continue to overwhelm, it is of urgent importance that the Department of Health (DOH) ensures uninterrupted non-COVID health services while fully rolling out national health programs like the National Tuberculosis Program, the Mental Health Program, and the National Cancer Prevention and Control Program which remain life-saving especially now. We have experienced many setbacks in our national health goals. The rising number of suicides and tuberculosis cases, among others, is a giant red flag that we cannot wait for the pandemic to end before we act on non-COVID health needs.

The National Government must also provide genuine assistance to the Local Government Units at this time, as they support their own health programs and hospitals to guarantee continued services for communities.

Hindi na lamang COVID-19 ang usapan dito. While resources are necessarily funnelled into controlling COVID-19, we need to be hyper-aware that this also quickly drew direly-needed attention away from deadly diseases that our countrymen and women have long been battling. Before the pandemic, we were already a petri dish for deadly communicable and noncommunicable diseases. We cannot let go of our hard-won victories on those fronts by underfunding & under-allocating human resources to our non-COVID health services.

The overflowing hospitals are a nightmare for anyone who direly needs to go to them for treatment-- ang mga may kanser o heart disease, ang mga nagda-dialysis o kailangan mag pa-opera, o ang mga nanay na manganganak na. Paano na sila? They are also the most vulnerable to COVID-19. On top of this, the government has seemingly abandoned our tired health workers who we cannot pay on time and are now forced to pay for their own personal protective equipment (PPEs). Kapag di na kaya ng mga ospital at health workers, saan pupunta ang mga may malalang sakit?

Huwag nating paabutin sa punto na mapipilitan ang mga doktor pumili kung sino ang gagamutin nila. If they could save all the patients knocking on their doors, they would. We can rise from the pandemic and prevent the collapse of our healthcare system only if we make sure that no one, no sector, no community, and no group, is left behind. All health must be guaranteed.

I look to our neighboring countries, like Vietnam, for hope. We can do it too. If we step up, we can fulfill our hopes of raising our head above the tide of suffering that this pandemic has washed over us.

News Latest News Feed