‘Doctors to the Barrios’ assignment to Cebu City now voluntary — DOH

The Department of Health (DOH) said that the reassignment of members of the 'Doctors to the Barrios' (DTTBs) to Cebu City will now be voluntary following opposition from the rural physicians.

Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire
Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire (PCOO / MANILA BULLETIN)

"Maraming nag refuse and it is quite disheartening because nasa public health emergency tayo…Ang ginawa natin, nakipag dialogue tayo again with them and now ang ating recourse would be..this would be all voluntary," said Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.

Vergeire said that 40 DTTBs were supposed to go to Cebu City to help in the fight against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) amid the increase in cases there.

“Because of the turn of events…maraming issues pa ang lumabas, so it was decided it is just going to be voluntary,” said Vergeire.

"We are still finalizing kung ilan talaga doon sa mga doctors ang pwede nang ready to be deployed," she added.

Last Sunday, Vergeire said that the DOH issued a directive to deploy DTTBs to Cebu City as the area’s “health care system is overwhelmed with patient load at the moment.”

The physicians under the DTTB program immediately responded. They urged the DOH to “rethink” its order and demanded an “inclusive dialogue” with the department.

The doctors said that they “were not suitably informed through writing” and there was no proper consultation on the deployment. They also said that the DOH failed “to provide clear protocols to safeguard and protect” those who are supposed to be deployed.