[Statement] “What a disgrace”, MAG Statement on the discrimination against some Iloilo City health workers on COVID-19

Discriminating the health workers who are in the frontline in the battle against Covid 19 out of fear and ignorance is outrageous and should be condemned.

We, the Medical Action Group, a health and human rights organization is seriously alarmed with the news report that some health workers in Iloilo City have been told to leave their boarding houses by their landlords and have even refused to eat in cafeterias due to suspicions of close contact with coronavirus patients. This act is “disgraceful” and “unacceptable”. The utter lack of social value and even the debt of gratitude by many of our countrymen to those who are serving the best interest of the public calls for stricter regulation and sanction against any form of discrimination.

While we do understand that stigma is a product of fear of the uncertainties but acting it out at the expense of others is an affront to human rights and dignity. It is just disheartening to know that health professionals are now being discriminated against. Despite the fact that they are risking their own lives so the rest of us may live. Some of them have even volunteered their services. The least that we could do is to give them our support and encouragement. The public should rest assured that the health professionals are mindful of observing hospital protocols and doing all precautionary measures. While some of them have already been infected and sacrificed their lives in their line of duties, it gives us no reason to treat them in an inhuman and degrading manner.

The Department of Health (DoH) should not just simply encourage the public to support the work of health frontliners but must institute measures to ensure the protection, safety, and well-being of health professionals and workers from any discriminatory treatment. Isolating people from the very institutions that are mandated to serve the public will only hamper the prompt delivery of health care services. They are our only line of defense, without them, our fear will turn into a nightmare.

In this time of crisis, let us bring the best and not the worst in us. Remember, any disease can be cured in due time but there will never be any cure for foolishness.

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