DOH probes reported attacks on COVID-19 frontliners

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 30) — The Department of Health is launching an investigation into several reports of harassment of health care workers helping the battle against COVID-19.

DOH, in a statement on Sunday, denounced the physical assault, harassment, and discrimination committed against the country's frontliners.

In Sultan Kudarat, a group ganged up on a personnel of Tacurong City’s St. Louis Hospital. The group splattered bleach on the staff's face on his way from work. DOH also said there are other reports of health care workers being refused basic services such as public transport and laundry service or are evicted from their homes due to discrimination. Some are also reportedly being blocked and fined at checkpoints.

DOH is not taking these reports lightly.

"These acts cannot be tolerated. We are mobilizing our own personnel in efforts to ascertain more details and hold perpetrators of these attacks liable and reporting these incidents to the Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19 for proper investigation and resolution," DOH said.

It also said police officers, transportation personnel, and local government officials are also tasked to keep the country's new heroes safe from harm and discrimination. It also sought the help of the public to extend compassion and keep an eye on the frontliners who are putting their lives at risk.

"This is not the time for us to turn our backs on them. It is not enough that we thank them. We need to protect them, too," DOH stressed.

At least 12 doctors have died in the battle against COVID-19.