MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday warned against violence and discrimination of healthcare workers amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
According to Duterte, he received reports that some health workers are being harassed.
"Ito namang isa, itong mga trabahante, mga doktor, mga nurse, health workers, attendants and all, eh hindi makauwi ng bahay, tinatapunan ninyo ng kung ano-anong mga chemicals na nakakasira ng katawan. Mas una silang mamatay kay ‘yung sa pasyente doon sa COVID," he said.
He ordered the police to go after those who harass health workers.
"‘Yung mga tao na gumagawa ng ganun, I am ordering the police to go around. Huwag kayong mag-istambay diyan sa istasyon. Maglakad kayo, tandem, at maghanap kayo ng mga taong bastos. At kung mahuli mo, kung ano ‘yung binubuhos niya doon sa health worker o sa doktor, ibuhos mo rin sa kaniya para tabla," Duterte said.
"Eh bakit? Ikaw lang ba ang marunong? ‘Di tikman mo rin ‘yung ginagawa mo and see if it would make you happy," he added.
Duterte reiterated that health workers should be protected as they are the ones who help those who are getting sick of COVID-19.
"Ulitin ko: Do not. ‘Yung mga doktor, p***** i** pagpunta mo doon sa ospital, ‘yon ‘yung doctor na binuhusan mo, ‘yon ‘yung maggagamot sa iyo sa loob ng hospital," he said.
"Yung mga frontliners, huwag kayong mag-alala. I will support and defend you," he added.
The Department of Health (DOH) earlier condemned acts of harassment and violence against health care workers.
Aside from harassment, some health care workers have also been discriminated in their places of residence due to the nature of their work.
As of Wednesday, the Philippines has a total of 2,311 COVID-19 cases, with 96 fatalities and 50 recoveries.