Getting worse and worse

"It is very clear the President was against any more lockdowns."



The following is a compilation of my Viber texts to colleagues in the past two days:

It's cruel for the so-called health care workers (HCWs) to demand an ECQ (total lockdown) as a timeout or ceasefire just because they are tired or afraid to die.

Imagine us journalists there is an ongoing coup attempt or a battle between the army and the communist New People’s Army. Can we say stop, rest muna, we have run out of memory cards for video or that some of us have been hit by friendly fire. We cannot, di ba?

Imagine the job losses (three million jobs per estimate of the Employers Confederation), losses to economic production (at least P5 trillion by this time), income losses (70 percent of businesses cannot operate normally), hunger (half of the population) and misery of ordinary Filipinos just because napagod na si Dr Kuya or Ate Nurse and they want to rest. Bwsit di ba?

Yung namang incompetent na Duque sumawsaw sa eksena. Yesterday, a group of health care workers from Fabella, one of the world’s biggest maternity wards, demanded the Health secretary’s ouster. President Duterte does not want to let him go for two reasons: one, it will be seen as a sign of weakness; and two, there are very few, if any replacements.

Also there is no guarantee if you restore ECQ, matters will improve. At the frontlines, there are many imponderables. George Patton after winning the Battle of the Bulge nagpahinga, sumakay sa kotse, he met with an accident. Patay. Si Gen. Greogorio del Pilar, defending Tirad Pass so President Aguinaldo could escape from the Americans, nagpahinga, wrote a letter to his gf, sumakay sa kabayo, na-sniper. Patay.

In 1815, Napoleon delayed his attack on Wellington’s troops and had breakfast. This allowed the British general to consolidate his troops and occupy a more vantage position. Besides, Napoleon was waiting for reinforcements from his top general. Napoleon, of course, lost his final battle. Dahil nagpahinga.

Meanwhile, President Duterte doesn’t need to intervene in scheduling the work of HCWs. These are highly educated pros, and competent people.

Did you realize that by speaking as one in airing their grievances and making demands, the HCWs in effect preempted anyone naughty from blaming them for the deteriorating situation?

The crisis is not getting any better, it will only get very much, much worse for two reasons: 1) the problem is beyond the ken of government; 2) the Philippines is very third world in health science and health care.

Why? Most of our top and most experienced people in health care are abroad. That is why the biggest single supplier of OFW dollars to Manila are our health care professionals, from the US.

Among my high school classmates, half of the girls took up nursing, medtech and PT.  Abroad, nurses and PTs make more money than doctors. My classmates after 7 to 10 years in the US, they were driving MBs and living in mansions. One or two put up a chain of nursing homes with the govt as the biggest client.

The new MECQ for Metro Manila and nearby provinces is supposed to reduce COVID infections by 20,000—130,000 instead of 150,000 by August. This is per Dr. Tony Leachon whom Duterte removed as an IATF adviser after speaking out too frankly in June against Duque.

Such forecasts nobody can really validate. Sonny Dominguez used to claim he saved 100,000 lives with early lockdown. Duterte in his SONA claimed said he prevented 1.3 million to 1.5 million infections.

Tell that to a jeepney driver who has had no income for six mos or to the family of that woman who died on a bridge in Pasay waiting for a ride home that never was coming. Or General Sinas who thinks he is exempted from the rigidities of COVID protocol. These are instances of real harm. If i remember right, the Hippocratic oath says do no harm, to patients and other people 

If you watched the video on Sunday, Duque put Duterte in a tight corner. While Duterte was ranting, the unpopular Health chief cut in to say he recommended MECQ. Apparently taken aback, Duterte had no choice but agree to MECQ.

It is very clear the President was against any more lockdowns, saying he has no more money to give to the dislocated.

In effect, Duque pandered to the HCWs. Duterte was trying to play it tough saying it was the choice of doctors and nurses to take up the  courses knowing the risks, just like people who want to be soldiers knowing they could die in battle.

DU30 was also saying he will harness the reserve health personnel in the armed services to replace those threatening to walk out.

My take: Government will implement MECQ but in milder form. Just like a boxer pummeled to exhaustion or near death, one more blow won’t make much of a difference.

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Topics: Tony Lopez , health care workers , MECQ , coronavirus , COVID-19
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