Palace told: Mobilize doctors, not security forces in anti-Swine flu drive
Leftwing militants identified with the fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya)said the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC)is addressing the issue of swine flu through militarization and not on medical and scientific practice.
Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said the proposed P 90 million fund to avert the entry of swine flu virus through employment of additional security forces to guard aiports and airports speaks of the authoritarian character of the Macapagal-Arroyo government in addressing issues including the health being of the Filipino people.
“What we need are doctors, nurses and the mobilization of the medical community to avert the entry of swine flu virus. But President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is turning this occasion into a national security concern, which is disgusting and extremely mind-boggling,” the fisherfolk leader said.
Pamalakaya recalled that the health department prreviously asked President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to set aside some 2 million US dollars for the purchase of additional 350,000 doses of the anti-viral drug oseltamivir.
At the DOH have 650,000 doses to treat around 65,000 people but the country still 350,000 doses to met a minimum of one million doses for at least 1 million people.
“Mrs. Arroyo is not listening to the medical community. She and her military officials would rather spend the money for additional employment of security personnel rather and ignore the mammoth calls for her to prioritize the medical requirements of the people against the swine flu virus,” said Pamalakaya.
In a press conference held at the NDCC headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo last week, Department of Health Undersecretary Mario Villaverde said the initial request budget of P 90 million against the swine flu virus is earmarked for the employment of additional security personnel to guard airports, seaports and tighten border controls, purchasing medicines and personal protective equipment like masks.
Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro said the amount could be taken from the calamity fund of the NDCC, which he also chair.
In the same press briefing, Health Secretary Francisco Duque, the NDCC’s appointed crisis committee chief for the h1N1 crisis, added that the DOH was planning to purchase P10 million worth of Oseltamivir, the known anti-viral drug said to cure infected patients.
Duque added that the situation was evolving and that there was a possibility that the P90 million would not be enough in case an outbreak would occur.
But Duque reiterated that there has been no reported cases of H1N1 viral infection within the country and a “dooms day scenario” was still “far out.”