With healthcare system ‘severely damaged,’ senator seeks Senate probe on PH COVID-19 response

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 3) - A senator on Monday has filed a resolution seeking a probe into the national government’s response to the pandemic, as the country’s healthcare system is “severely challenged and obviously impaired.”

Senator Richard Gordon has filed Senate Resolution 483 asking the Senate Committee of the Whole to look into the state of the healthcare system amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“The health care system of the Philippines has been dangerously stretched to its limit,” read the resolution.

It added that the Senate should listen to the frontliners "to find out what is wrong" so that government can "implement effective and science-based solutions" for a renewed fight against COVID-19.

President Rodrigo Duterte decided to impose revert back Metro Manila and four other nearby provinces to modified enhanced community quarantine status following the call for a "timeout" by an overwhelmed medical community. The country registered more than 100,000 COVID-19 cases over the weekend.

Gordon said that there is a need to reasses the current health situation of the country and develop new strategies before the quarantine protocols are eased again.

“Nagla-lockdown tayo, pero dapat pagbalik nakahanda na tayo gawin lahat in a very cogent way (We implement lockdowns, but we must make sure that we will be able to do things in a cogent way after), in that way so our economy can revive. If our frontliners die, then we cannot revive them and the economy cannot be revived,” he said during the Senate plenary session.

With the call for an inquiry, Gordon said member agencies of the Inter-Agency Task Force should submit a report on the status of the implementation of the expanded COVID-19 testing and present a master plan and road map to beat the pandemic.

He also said doctors should be provided enough benefits, especially during this health crisis.

“Kapag nawala sila [doctor], guguho ang ating healthcare system. Kaya dapat pakinggan at alagaan natin sila, hindi yung susuhulan natin sila,” said Gordon. “Dapat bigyan sila ng benepisyo, maayos na gamit, at modernized na hospital.”

[Translation: If the doctors die, our healthcare system will break down. So we should listen to them and take care of them, and not as if we’re bribing them. We should give them benefits, new equipment, and modernized hospitals.]

Moreover, the senator is hoping the economic stimulus bill or the second version of the Bayanihan Law will be able to “increase the capacity of our economy.”

“This is not the time to fix the blame on anyone. We are here to have effective solutions to improve the capacity of our healthcare systems and to protect our healthcare workers and our people,” said Gordon.