Duterte gov’t, DOH carrying out mass deception, instead of mass testing – groups
Manila, Philippines – As the Department of Health overhauls its reporting system on the cases of COVID-19 in the country, the fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya and Anakpawis Party-list slammed the Duterte government and the said agency of carrying out mass deception, to depict a reduced spread of the pandemic in the country. Moreover, Dr. Gene Nisperos, President of All University of the Philippines Academic Employees Union – Manila Chapter and faculty member of the UP College of Medicine, explained on his social media post that the DOH has stressed on the lower number of “confirmed” cases than the number of “positive” cases brought about by laboratory tests. For May 30, the DOH reported 17,224 confirmed cases, 6,276 lower than the 23,500 positive cases, thus, the curve is solely based on the capacity of the agency to validate the cases, and not the actual spread of the pandemic.
“This is obviously mass deception. Manipulating and throwing aside the bigger number of positive cases nominally to pull the curve down. This essentially quashes the extensive sacrifice of the people who lost daily incomes and livelihood for more than two months. Worse, we are entering the lower quarantine declaration, with more cases being revealed. This is a gross failure and criminal incompetence of the Duterte government’s response to the pandemic,” Fernando “Ka Pando” Hicap, Pamalakaya National Chairperson and Anakpawis Party-list former representative said in a press statement.
He said that fisherfolk families and poor families endured hunger and miseries due to loss of incomes, but beyond the public eye, the DOH has been highlighting the “fake” number that should represent the extent of the pandemic.
For his part, Anakpawis Party-list former representative Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao denounced the DOH’s incompetency of having backlogs in confirming cases, amid the allotment of the P275 billion emergency budget as a pandemic response. Officials announced that in the past weeks, backlogs of cases were at 12,000, which was trimmed down to 7,000 this past week. Still, positive cases coming from these would still be subjected by the agency to validation.
“It is now revealed that public funds are not being utilized on what matters most, the medical response. The Duterte government’s rejection of people’s demand for mass testing since the beginning is now taking a toll on society and economy, when other countries in the world are starting to flatten the curve and return back to normalcy. This will be worsened by the groundless easing to a general community quarantine,” the former lawmaker stressed.
He added that DOH grossly failed to respond effectively and correspond to the sacrifices of the people. Around 5 to 10 million workers are estimated to lose their jobs, with 2.6 million already displaced. For the first quarter, the gross domestic product contracted by 0.2%, which the government claimed was the first in two decades or since 1998. For the year, the estimated loss in the economy could reach P2.2 trillion or a contraction of 2 to 3.4%.
“The Filipino people paid an unimaginable price for the pandemic response and now we are getting the results of the government and DOH’s bungling work. Garbage data always brought about garbage policies. Unless the DOH carries out accurate data-gathering, any government measure is doomed to fail. The Duterte government is fully aware of this, thus, its recent passing of the buck to the people or the worsening of the pandemic should be blamed to the people, amid its sloppy measures,” he said.
He urged the people to hold the DOH and Duterte government accountable for this criminal incompetence and join the clamor to push for a mass testing program such as being provisioned by House Bill 6848 or the “Free Mass Testing Act of 2020,” to decisively end the pandemic. This was filed by lawmakers under the Makabayan bloc last Thursday. ###
Dr. Gene Nispero’s social media post on DOH data reporting https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=3465646066778829&id=100000004103234