PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has allowed the resumption of face-to-face (F2F) classes for medical and allied health programs in higher education institutions in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified GCQ areas, Malacañang said Tuesday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this remark after the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) approved the return to limited F2F classes for students of medicine and allied health sciences as well as universities in areas under MGCQ.
“Ito po ay para sa medical and allied [health] programs. Ito ay sa mga med schools, mga medical allied programs sa mga higher educational institutions sa MGCQ at para po sa mga higher educational institutions in GCQ areas with base hospitals that cater to COVID-19 patients,” Roque said.
He added this is to ensure that the country will have enough doctors amid the prevailing pandemic.
“Ito po ay para hindi tayo maubusan ng mga doctor kung hindi po magpapatuloy yung mga face-to-face [classes] ng mga doctor at allied professionals,” he added.
Asked on the possibility that Duterte would withdraw the resumption of F2F classes for medical and allied health programs, Roque emphasized the need for doctors in the country.
“Number one, you cannot second guess the President. Pero number two, obvious po ang dahilan kung bakit kinakailangan magpatuloy ang training ng mga doctor dahil pag hindi natin ipinagpatuloy ‘yan darating ang panahon, wala tayo magiging graduates. And at the time of pandemic, we need all the doctors we can have,” he said.
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) earlier allowed the University of the Philippines’ College of Medicine to resume its F2F clinical internship at the UP-Philippine General Hospital (PGH).
On March 14, 2020, the Association of Philippine Medical Colleges gave out a directive to pull out medical interns out of all hospitals in Metro Manila.
However, over 100 interns at the PGH volunteered to go back on-duty to help the patients and the remaining healthcare workers in the hospital.
Duterte last month approved the plan of the Department of Education (DepEd) to conduct pilot F2F classes in select schools in areas with low-risk of infection.
He eventually withdrew the plan after a new strain of COVID-19, which was allegedly more infectious, has been detected in the United Kingdom (UK) and has already been reported in other neighboring countries. Philippine News Agency