Healthcare workers claim verbal
harassment by police officers
Amid ongoing concerns surrounding the coronavirus disease, or Covid-19, Negros Occidental’s medical sector claimed they have been the subject of discrimination.
Based on a letter from Riverside Medical Center corporate communications head Chuck Estrella to Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson, medical workers have reported being denied rides by pedicabs and jeepneys, not allowed entry into coffee shops, verbally harassed by police officers, and ordered to vacate their places of residence by landlords and neighbors.
“After all the sacrifices they make, including risking their lives, this is what we expect them to face?” the hospital official questioned.
In a separate letter, Philippine College of Physicians Negros Occidental chapter president, Dr. Connie Rose Benjamin, called on the governor to intervene in the matter.
She explained, not all medical staff had come in contact with the confirmed coronavirus patient, noting, prior to testing positive, they had already been isolated and all medical staff exposed to the patient in question were quarantined.
Meanwhile, in response to the accusations of harassment by police officers, Bacolod City Police Office spokesperson, Police Lt. Colonel Ariel Pico, urged Riverside Medical Center to forward the names of the police officers in question to their office.
The law enforcement official said such behavior by a police officer will not be tolerated as it violates the Philippine National Police code of ethics. He added, once they receive the names of the officers in question, they will immediately conduct an investigation and, if proven guilty, the involved police officers may face sanctions.
Earlier this week, in response to reports of medical workers being discriminated against in Iloilo City, Mayor Jerry P. Treñas called for an end to discrimination.
“I have been receiving messages that our fellow Ilonggos, who are in the medical [field], are [being] discriminated [against],” the mayor said. “Buses reject them, karinderyas won’t sell to them, their landlords evicted them－we should not allow this to happen.”
“If they cannot eat, go to work, or sleep, who will take care of you if you will be infected?” he added. “Would you also want them to treat you the same?”/DGB, WDJ