PDU30 erred in trusting Duque; he must go


AROUND April 14 last month, while the country is well on its way to its first month of lockdown due to the menace of COVID-19 pandemic, a majority of our senators crossed political loyalty and party lines and issued a resolution calling for the removal of DOH secretary, Francisco Duque III.

That decision, we know, is a hard one for the like of Sen. Bong Go, who is among the signatories, but seeing as his fellow lawmakers did that Sec. Duque has been bungling his job, big time, the “best” thing to do under our circumstances is what their consensus told them— fire our health secretary, who has proven, even back then, two things: he is not a health “expert” and neither is he a “crisis manager.”

Let us no longer go into the argument that yanking out our health secretary in the middle of a global pandemic that continues to cost all of us immense personal hardship and that daily claims it set of victims may not be the “wise” thing to do— we need a “man” to ‘man the fort,’ so to speak, at the DOH.

But heck, it would not take a ‘field marshal’ to realise that an incompetent officer, and who has no experience in crisis situations, being in charge of an important campaign simply “cannot hack the job,” so to speak, and would only result to more casualties and waste of critical resources.

And more than a month after that resolution by the Senate was issued— and firmly rejected by PDU30 on the ground that Duque still has his trust and confidence— we are under far worse situation than what we are in when the pandemic started as compared to other countries.

Today, entering the third month of our lockdown, we marvel and we praise the successful effort made by Italy, Vietnam—Cambodia and Laos even— in battling the pandemic.

Particularly with our nearest ASEAN neighbors, their success should have been enough for us to wonder, “what are they doing right and what are we doing wrong all along?”

This, because Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, have been doing a great job minus the thousands of tons of medical aid and expert personnel that we have so far received from other countries, especially from China.

On the other hand, while Italy too, has China and Russia behind its back, especially when COVID-19 is causing havoc there between March and April, it can be said that Italy never relied so much on this brotherly assistance from the outside.

Instead, side by side with other experts, its own medical and health experts pursued an independent study to understand the pandemic— even to the point of dissecting the cadavers of the victims to further understand the problem.

The same can be said about Vietnam and other countries, leaving us the question, “what about us, Sec. Duque?”

More than five months now (since January) since the pandemic came to the world’s attention, other countries too have independently arrived at their own ‘best practices’ and dug into their own “traditional” ways of curing any disease in finding out what would work “best” in combatting COVID-19. The result of course, is encouraging— for them and not for us.

From where most Filipinos stand, Sec. Duque has not taken any effort to encourage local research on the problem; not one cadaver has been examined to learn what we can from doing so. The dead are simply cremated.

The RITM, the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, instead of focusing on its main job— research— has instead been “converted” into a testing center for suspected COVID patients, thus abandoning any effort in finding a possible local cure for the virus.

The above discourse is of course, simply “indicative” of what Sec. Duque lacks— ability to think and act independently, lack of trust (or is it faith) in our inherent capability to find a local cure and lack of management skills in a crisis situation.

But to me, the most telling of Duque’s “infirmities” is this: his lack of independent thinking, his lack of resolve, his lack of imagination and his lack of ‘political will’ to think and act “out of the box,” so to speak.

Have you not wondered, dear readers, how strictly Duque has been relying on what the WHO is saying to him and more significantly, Big Pharma?

Of course, there is nothing wrong with following the WHO bulletins and advisories. But did it never enter the mind of Duque and his minions that those bulletins and advisories coming from the WHO are what they simply are? Advisories and bulletins?

I mean, they are not directives written in stone and handed down from Mt. Sinai, are they not? And that in the absence of a vaccine and a clear understanding of the virus, that is the best thing that the WHO can do for the world at the moment— give us “advise.”

Translation? All countries are free and independent to pursue their own way of dealing with the pandemic to ensure the lives, health and safety of their respective citizens.

But why has Duque appeared to have anchored our country’s hope and deliverance and the decisions the government are making now on these ‘advisories?’ Wala ba tayong mga Pilipino na sariling bait at pag-isip na katulad ng ibang bansa?

Ditto, why is Duque also pinning his hope of deliverance to the possibility of a vaccine being develop by other countries? And when the vaccine comes, at what cost to our almost devastated economy.

In the absence of deliverance from Big Pharma, we all have to learn to live a miserable life for the present seems to be Duque’s other message to all of us.

From where yours truly stand, our health secretary has become, for all intent and purposes, just another bureaucrat who is blind and deaf to other possible doable solutions and who has busied himself attending to the administration of his department instead of leading it.

Aside from bungling all his major tasks— from coming up with a believable number of COVID cases, to laying down the safety protocol to guide our movement and daily lives, to contact tracing, to actually coming out with even a possible cure thru a combination of locally available herbal medicines and adoption of other countries’ best practices— Duque and his department has done all of these things disastrously.

But if Duque has just become another cog in the machine we call, the “bureaucracy” this is the more dangerous and unsatisfactory for all of us.

This is because he has been designated by our government as the “top man” to guide the IATF in its actions and decisions from the moment the pandemic hit our shores. And look at the mess he has created.

It is time for him to go.