Iloilo city mayor asks Duque to resign ‘for the sake of the country’

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas, on Monday openly asked the Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III to resign “for the sake of the country.”

During the weekly flag-raising ceremony at the Iloilo City Hall, Treñas cited DOH’s decision on sending 40 rural doctors from Western Visayas to serve in private hospitals in Cebu City amid the increasing cases of COVID-19 in the city.

“I do not know whether that is the correct thing that should be done. I hope the authorities, especially in the DOH, are thinking correctly,” he said.

“As a decision-maker, what I can say is that the DOH has not done correct decisions since the start of this pandemic in the Philippines. That is why we are the country with the longest lockdown, and yet the (COVID-19) cases continue to go up,” Treñas said.

“I am not putting blame on anyone, but there are decision-makers. Secretary Francisco Duque is a friend because I have known him since the time of the late President Corazon Aquino.  But I think it is really about time to accept responsibility and voluntarily resign for the sake of the country,” he said.

Several senators previously filed a resolution, calling DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III to resign immediately concerning his performance in handling the COVID-19 crisis in the country.

Malacañang, however, earlier said President Rodrigo still trusts Duque, and he could continue serving as the chair of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) amid the Office of the Ombudsman investigation against him.

Also read: Vergeire: No reason for Duque to resign

DOH sends ‘doctors to barrios’ to Cebu City

DOH-6 Regional Director Dr. Marlyn Convocar confirmed the June 26 letter circulating online that 40 physicians, mostly assigned under the Doctors to the Barrios (DTTB) program, would be sent to Cebu City to help treat COVID-19 patients.

“But the decision is not coming from me,” Convocar clarified to Manila Bulletin in a Saturday, June 27, phone interview.

DOH Undersecretary Abdullah Dumama Jr. tasked the DOH Western Visayas regional office to send teams to Cebu. At the same time, DOH Assistant Secretary for the Visayas and Mindanao Roy Ferrer has yet to approve the assignment.

Convocar’s letter stated the doctors would be sent in four batches to Cebu beginning June 30.

Several groups of physicians did not approve of DOH’s decision to pull-out doctors in rural areas in the country where medical services were geographically inaccessible.