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Health sector leaders call for collective action against corrupt politicians amidst COVID-19 failures

Leaders of the Philippine health sector have joined together to call out bad leadership and the abuse of power with impunity in the government’s COVID-19 response.

“Exposed and battered beyond any doubt in the past 18 months of the global pandemic, our broken health systems need to be overhauled and invested upon with huge financial resources […] and the political will of our top leaders to get things done quickly,” reads their statement.

The group, which at present includes signatories from 89 leaders and past presidents of medical societies including former health secretary Dr. Esperanza Cabral and former president of the Philippine College of Physicians Dr. Anthony Leachon, calls out the corruption of “politicians and people with absolutely no competence in running the country”. Other signatories include Dr. Raffy Castillo, Dr. Eugene Ramos, Dr. Saturnino Javier and Dr. Minguita Padilla.

This comes after the Commission of Audit (COA) flagged the Department of Health (DOH) for P67-billion worth of “deficiencies” in COVID-19 funds and anomalies hounding the PS-DBM and the DOH in connection with the purchase of supplies for the COVID-19 pandemic. The doctors assert a call to render accountable those responsible for the abuse, misuse, and theft of taxpayer money while citizens’ lives have been at stake.

Health workers in Manila have also been protesting outside the DOH during their shift breaks, demanding their risk allowances, hazard pay, and the resignation of Health Secretary Francisco Duque.

“We cannot go on fighting for every Filipino’s life and health if we cannot work together” they conclude, asking the nation to join them in their fight for order, decency, and integrity in the government.

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