By Hannah Torregoza
Opposition Senator Leila de Lima on Monday appealed to doctors, nurses, and other health professionals to make a list of their demands to the government as they exert all efforts to defeat the novel coronavirus disease or COVID-19.
De Lima, in her message to the medical community, reminded them that as frontliners in the fight against COVID-19, they can use their power to demand from government all that they need to defeat the enemy.
“You now hold the power over life and death. In this battle against the virus, you are the frontliners. You are the thin white line that stands between us and catastrophe. Use that power to demand from government what you need to defeat the enemy,” De Lima said.
“Make a list of your demands. What you want from government and what you think government needs to do,” she said.
De Lima said those who are in the medical profession should make their requests known to the government, whether it is to deliver more personal protective equipment, to roll-out a comprehensive mass-testing program, or setting up or accrediting new testing laboratories.
She also urged them to boldly ask the government to produce more testing kits whether here or abroad, more field hospitals to quarantine suspected COVID-19 patients, and to immediately release their daily allowance and other benefits as health workers, as well as ask for an efficient transport system to ferry medical workers in and out of their workplace.
“Whatever you need, whatever you want to fight this virus, put it in writing and send it to the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force),” the senator said.
“Tell them how government should spend our taxes and utilize all other available resources. Tell them to spend it now on things that you need to keep saving lives and to keep protecting yourselves,” she added.
“We are behind you. Without you, we will have no chance whatsoever to survive this pandemic, not the generals, not the lawyers, not the bankers, not the politicians, not the bureaucrats. No, only you can save us,” she emphasized.
As the most powerful sector in the Philippines right now, the lawmaker said medical frontliners should use their power to save lives and save their fellow practitioners who are falling at the front lines.
“Tell government what to do. Tell government you can only continue to fight this battle if they listen and act immediately on your demands. Together, let us make the government work for us. Our survival as a people and as a nation depends on it,” she said.