Duterte to meet Cabinet on plea of frontliners

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President Duterte is set to meet Sunday key members of his Cabinet to discuss the appeal of the medical frontliners to revert Mega Manila to the enhanced community quarantine, Malacañang said.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte
(SIMEON CELI JR. / PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after members of the Cabinet and the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases held an emergency meeting on Saturday afternoon to address the concerns of the medical frontliners.

In a Viber message, Roque said that the meeting will take place on Sunday, a day after the medical frontliners expressed their sentiments that the country is fighting a losing war against the pandemic and that they need a time out as more hospitals get flooded with patients.

“The President will meet today with key Cabinet members today to discuss yesterday’s letter from the frontliners,” he said.

“I will make the proper announcement in due course,” he added.

The Palace has yet to disclose details about the meeting that took place on Saturday. Roque, however, said that they will immediately submit their recommendation to the President for his review.

Meanwhile, Roque said that prior to the meeting, senior government officials likewise met with the representatives of the Philippine Medical Association, Philippine Nurses Association, and the Philippine Association of Medical Technologists to discuss “the concerns of the medical community amid the challenges of COVID-19.”

In a letter, the medical frontliners said they are waging a losing battle against COVID-19 and stressed that a definitive plan of action is needed to better address the situation.

“The health sector cannot hold the line for much longer,” the medical frontliners wrote in their letter to the President.

“We propose that the two-week ECQ be used as a ‘time out’ to refine our (COVID-19) pandemic control strategies, addressing urgent problems,” they added.

Malacañang initially thumbed down the plea of the medical community, saying that the community quarantine was not enough to address the pandemic and that it was time to intensify other strategies like localized lockdowns.

However, on Saturday afternoon, Roque said that Duterte heard the call of the medical community and has ordered the IATF to “act on these concerns immediately” since they are important in the battle against the pandemic.

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