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MAG Statement

March 26, 2020

 

What a disgrace

Discriminating the health workers who are in the frontline in the battle against Covid 19 out of fear and ignorance is outrageous and should be condemned.

We, the Medical Action Group, a health and human rights organization is seriously alarmed with the news report that some health workers in Iloilo City have been told to leave their boarding houses by their landlords and have even refused to eat in cafeterias due to suspicions of close contact with corona virus patients. This act is "disgraceful" and “unacceptable”. The utter lack of social value and even the debt of gratitude by many of our countrymen to those who are serving the best interest of the public calls for stricter regulation and sanction against any form of discrimination.

tribute doc jara

Pagpupugay at pasasalamat sa iyong dedikasyon at walang pag-iimbot na serbisyo tungo sa kagalingang pangkalusugan at panlipunan.

May you rest in peace, Dr. Jara.

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Si Dr. Raul D. Jara ay naging parte ng MAG Board of Trustees sa mga taong 1987-1989 at 1989-1991. Siya ay isa sa mga manggagamot ng Philippine Heart Center bago pumanaw noong March 24, 2020 dahil sa coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

 

Public Statement on the Philippine Government’s Response to COVID-19

Medical Action Group

March 19, 2020

 

“Do no harm in times of emergency”

The 2019 novel coronavirus or COVID 19 is indeed a significant threat to global public health, prompting the World Health Organization to officially label the situation as pandemic for continuously reaching an exponential geographical spread.

Swift, decisive and effective government action is necessary and crucial. While the government health emergency response may limit the enjoyment of certain rights like the freedom of movement to prevent the spread of disease, it should not compromise the fulfillment of other rights, foremost of which is the peoples’ rights to decent jobs, food, shelter, and the enjoyment of a life in dignity.

More than a year in office, the Duterte administration has failed to address the inequity in healthcare in the country. The Philippines remains under severe social and economic inequalities with 26% of the population living in poverty and have limited access to healthcare services despite the promise of change by the current administration.

While the Duterte Health Agenda or ACHIEVE appeared promising, but there were no substantial changes in the health policies and programs to address the basic health needs of the people especially the marginalized and disadvantaged sectors.

The reduction of health budget from P125 billion this year to P94 billion next year, or by a huge P31 billion is not only a far cry from the 5% of the Gross Domestic Product standard but it only means a low per capita health expenditure which will generally affect the delivery of healthcare services With no additional Barangay Health Stations (BHS) that were put up, thousands of people were deprived of the promotive, preventive, and curative healthcare programs. While existing BHS which are already dilapidated and neglected, lacking the needed personnel, medicines, and equipment are no longer effectively functioning and delivering the health services needed by the communities. The primary health services are still concentrated more in urban centers while rural communities have very little or no health facilities at all.

The MEDICAL ACTION GROUP, INC (MAG) strongly condemns the murder of another public health worker who was selflessly serving the country at these times when his service was needed the most.

 Dr. George Repique Jr., had just finished his hospital duty at the General Emilio Aguinaldo Memorial Hospital (GEAMH) in Trece Martires when he was attacked and killed by unidentified riding-in-tandem assailants. He is the third doctor killed in five months.

A member of the University of the Philippines – College of Medicine class of 1993, Dr. Repique worked as a community health doctor for many years before being appointed as provincial health officer of the Province of Cavite, a position he served until his untimely death.