By Argyll Geducos
President Duterte has ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) to arrest those who are committing discriminatory acts against medical frontliners.
In his remarks in a meeting with the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, Duterte said those arrested will not be released until he says so.
“I’d like to order the police. If there’s a report of somebody harassing or facing a discriminatory act, you arrest the person,” he said in his public address aired late Monday night.
“Huwag mong bitawan hanggang hindi ko sinabi na bitawan. Tawagan ko lang kayo kung panahon na,” he added.
(Don’t release them until I say so. I’ll call you when it’s time.)
The President said the public should not discriminate against nor harass health workers as they are the ones who will take care of them if they get sick.
“‘Pag tinamaan kayo ng COVID, didiretso kayo sa hospital, sino’ng nagsusugal ng buhay nila doon? ‘Yung mga doctor pati ‘yung health workers,” he said.
(If you get infected by COVID-19, you’ll go straight to the hospital. Who’s there risking their lives? The doctors and health workers.)
“Paglabas niyan sa hospital — hoy, mga g***. Cleaned na ‘yan sila… So huwag ninyong i-discriminate ‘yan.”
(You idiots, don’t discriminate against them because once they step out of the hospitals, they are already clean.)
Duterte said those discriminating against health workers should not go to hospitals when they are sick.
“Nagsusugal ng buhay, naghihirap, tapos ganunin ninyo. Kung ganun, huwag kayong magpa-ospital.”
(They’re risking their lives yet you treat them like that? If that’s the case then don’t go to the hospital.)
“At kayo namang mga health workers, kung nakita ninyo ‘yung tao nagbato ng bahay ninyo, nandoon sa hospital ninyo, alam mo na. Alam mo na kung anong gawin mo,” he added in jest.
(And to the health workers, if you see in your hospital the person throwing rocks at your house, you know what to do with them.)
The President, meanwhile, encouraged health workers to ask the police to give them a lift to their destination if they get tired of walking due to the suspension of public transportation.
Last week, the IATF vowed to go after those who discriminate against or harass health workers.
“Hindi po ito nakakatulong (This does not help), and the government will act on cases of discrimination wherever and whenever these happen,” Cabinet Secretary and IATF spokesman Karlo Nograles said.
Nograles said the discriminatory acts include, but are not limited to, coercion, libel, slander, physical injuries, and the dishonor of contractual obligations such as contracts of lease or employment.