Pasig hospital, OCD refute alleged viral raid for PPEs, credit-grabbing

April 2, 2020 - 7:26 PM
Personnel from the Quezon City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office and the City Health Department train to wear personal protective equipment on March 13 2020. (The STAR/Michael Varcas)

Authorities have denied social media posts detailing an alleged raid of medical equipment donated to health workers of a Pasig City private hospital.

The social media posts containing screenshots of messages which claimed that a senator is brewing a credit-grabbing plan made rounds on Facebook and Twitter on Wednesday.

The messages alleged that a senator ordered the Office of Civil Defense to raid hospitals and confiscate their much-needed medical supplies initially donated to them. The anonymous sender claimed that the items will then be distributed to private institutions this time labeled with the official’s name.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo denied these online reports on Thursday and pinned the blame on President Rodrigo Duterte’s critics.

“The spread of these fake information is malicious and obviously done by the negative forces and detractors of the Duterte Administration and its allies,” Panelo said.

The Medical City in Pasig City also issued a statement denying that a raid incident happened within its premises.

“There are news circulating that a raid of PPEs occurred in our premises on the evening of April 1. We deny this and encourage everyone to be careful in spreading unverified information,” the hospital said.

Civil Defense Spokesperson Mark Timbal also said: “Fake news po ‘yan (That’s fake news).”

The OCD’s official Facebook page later on reposted TMC’s statement and wrote:

“Stop spreading fake news. It isn’t helping in our fight against Covid-19. Thank you, Medical City, for clearing this up.”

Stop spreading fake news. It isn’t helping in our fight against Covid-19. Thank you, Medical City, for clearing this up.

Posted by Civil Defense PH on Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Duterte previously ordered the OCD to coordinate all the donations of medical supplies to the government, provided by the Administrative Order 27 he signed last Tuesday.

The administrative order established “a framework for the acceptance, management distribution and delivery of all medicines, medical equipment and supplies, and other health products donated to the nation.”

“There is an imperative need to properly consolidate and manage all donations of medicines, medical equipment and supplies, and other health products to address COVID-19,” Duterte said.

These donations from the private sector were supposed to be given to the health workers and other COVID-19 frontliners. Hospitals and other health care centers are experiencing shortage of these safety gear because of the surge of COVID-19 cases in the country.

As of Thursday, the Department of Health recorded 2633 COVID-19 cases in the country with 107 deaths and 51 recoveries.

Malasakit Center’s role

Some screenshots claimed that Sen. Bong Go is behind the alleged confiscation of supplies, which would supposedly redirected to his Malasakit Center project.

The Malasakit Center is a one-stop center launched in 2018 to assist less fortunate Filipinos on their health concerns and medical expenses.

Go also refuted these accusations in a Facebook post, saying that he has no involvement in the operations of the OCD.

“Nais ko po klaruhin na wala po akong kinalaman sa operasyon at mandato ng OCD. Wala rin pong kinalaman ang opisina ko sa distribution ng government resources,” Go said.

He also denied the participation of his Malasakit Center project.

“Malasakit Centers are simply intended as one-stop shops for poor and indigent patients where relevant government agencies with medical and financial assistance programs are gathered under one roof,” he said.

Despite the claims not being verified, some personalities shared the online posts and offered help to monitor such actions. The hashtags #malas_sakit and #StopGo were used on their posts.

“If they are true, then this time-wasting politicking is putting even more lives in danger,” newpaper columnist John Nery tweeted.

Blogger Noemi Dado also asked her followers to send her photos of donations being changed to the senator’s name.