‘Let’s be selfless’: Duque appeals to medical professionals to join fight against COVID-19

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Health Secretary Francisco Duque III gives an update regarding the new cases of COVID 19 in the country during a press conference at the DOH Headquarters in Manila on Saturday, March 7. Photo by Ben Nabong/Rappler

The Philippines’ health chief appealed to medical workers to be “selfless” and to join the country’s hospitals as they fight the pandemic despite the risks and difficulties.

“Siguro (maybe), let’s be selfless … It is not going to be easy anytime soon. It is going to be more difficult, but we just have to live with it. But of course, the sense of nation must be an overarching consideration in the hearts of every healthcare worker,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said in a University of the Philippines webinar held Friday.

“Ako po ay nananawagan. I appeal to the sense of nationalism and patriotism of every healthcare worker, nasa giyera po tayo, magkaisa po tayo, magtulungan po tayo,” Duque added.

[I am calling on medical workers…we are in a war. Let’s be united and help one another.]

According to Duque, many overseas medical workers who recently came back to the country did not want to apply to the Health Department’s emergency hiring program.

The government is currently in need of 1,000 medical workers, but of this number, only 25 have signed up.

‘Yung iba ay ayaw,” Duque said.

[Some of them turned down the offer.]

“Baguhin po natin ang ating pagiisip sa gitna po ng pandemyang ito,” he added.

[I urge you to change your minds in the midst of this pandemic.]

The government has again eased the overseas deployment ban on medical workers, allowing those who have secured employment documents on or before March 8 to leave the country.