Ombudsman probes Duque, DOH execs over alleged COVID-19 response anomalies

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 17, 2020   •   804

Ombudsman Samuel Martires on Wednesday (June 17) ordered an investigation on Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque and other DOH officials over alleged irregularities in the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) response.

“I directed the creation of two more investigating teams who will jointly investigate alleged irregularities and anomalies committed by DOH officials and employees, including Health Sec. Francisco Duque, in relation to the response of the DOH during this pandemic,” he said.

Martires also tasked the investigating team to file complaints against any DOH official or employee who would refuse to cooperate with the investigation.

Among the accusations to be investigated include:

  1. Purchase of 100 thousand test kits by the Department of Health
  2. Delayed procurement of Personal Protective Equipment and other medical gears necessary for the protection of healthcare workers
  3. Alleged lapses and irregularities that led to the death of medical workers
  4. Rising number of deaths and infected medical frontliners
  5. Inaction in the release processing of benefits and financial assistance of “fallen” and infected medical frontliners; and
  6. Confusing and delayed reporting of COVID-19 related deaths and confirmed cases.

Malacañang said it respects the decision of the Ombudsman to conduct an investigation on Duque and other DOH officials.

“We will let the process run its course as we enjoin Secretary Duque & the entire DOH bureaucracy to cooperate with the investigation and respect the orders of the OMB,” according to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque. AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

DFA Consular Office in General Santos City closed until Jan. 26

Marje Pelayo   •   January 25, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) informs the public that its Consular Office in General Santos City will be temporarily closed on Monday (January 25).

This is to give way to disinfection activities in its office premises and the implementation of other preventive measures to manage risks against coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The Consular Office will resume its regular operations on Tuesday (January 26).

Affected applicants with confirmed appointments who are unable to avail of consular services due to the suspension of operations must secure another appointment by emailing gensan.rco@dfa.gov.ph with the following information:

  • Name
  • Date of Birth
  • Original appointment date and time
  • Preferred date and time of new appointment

The preferred new appointment may be on any working day from Monday to Friday from January 26 to February 26 during the CO’s regular operation hours 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

Applicants that need emergency or urgent Consular services may contact CO General Santos by email at gensan.rco@dfa.gov.ph.

The DFA requests the public’s understanding and cooperation as we continue to battle against this pandemic.

DFA logs 3 new recoveries from COVID-19 among overseas Filipinos

Marje Pelayo   •   January 25, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Sunday (January 24) reported three new recoveries from coronavirus disease (COVID-19) among Filipinos abroad.

This brings a total of 8,820 Filipinos already recovered from the disease outside of the country.

To date, the number of Filipinos abroad who tested positive for the virus is at 13,779 while the number of fatalities remain at 945, mostly recorded in the Americas.

Meanwhile, a total of 4,017 Filipinos are still undergoing treatment in different health facilities around the world, majority of them are in the Middle East and Africa.

The DFA said it remains fully committed to monitoring the situation of overseas Filipinos who are affected by the pandemic and remains steadfast in promoting and protecting their welfare.

Non-compliance with minimum health standards is like choosing to become transmission agent — Duque

Maris Federez   •   January 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III on Saturday (January 23) emphasized that breaches in compliance with the minimum public health standards are the primary driver of infection and mutation of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“What may seem as a minor breach in the protocol or a misstep in our masking and coughing etiquettes can lead to a spike in cases. The next time we place our masks below our chins, raise our face shields above our heads, or the next time we go out and mingle just because we can without fear of consequences, we are choosing to become an agent of transmission,” the health chief said.

Duque made the statement during the virtual press conference announcing the detection of 16 additional cases of the UK variant of the deadly disease in the country.

The health official called on the public to continue doing the preventive measures – and doing them properly – as these seemingly insignificant actions may spell the difference in the lives of other people down the chain of infection.

Duque underscored that the actions of each and everyone can save the lives of people by preventing transmission.

“It is the little things that can stop the spread of disease–the proper wearing of a mask and face shield may be uncomfortable at times, but enduring a little discomfort can save lives,” he said.

Meanwhile, the country has recorded 1,797 new COVID-19 cases, as of 4pm, January 23, bringing the total number of active cases to 33,603.

The department also noted 166 recoveries and 54 fatalities, tallying total recoveries to 467,886 and deaths to 10,190. — /mbmf

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