We strongly condemn Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III’s breach of health protocols in accompanying his wife for her scheduled childbirth at Makati Medical Center today, March 25.

Even if, as Pimentel said, he only learned about his positive COVID-19 test result when he was at the hospital last night, March 24, his visit remains inexcusable as he has certainly been tagged a person under investigation (PUI) previously, having been in contact with other PUIs and having felt some of the coronavirus’ symptoms days before. That he disregarded these and seemed to have concealed these facts from the public attest to his inconsiderateness and utter stupidity.

Since the enhanced community quarantine was implemented in Luzon and in many municipalities and cities all over the Philippines, Filipinos have painstakingly abided the policy. Daily wage earners and farmers, now left with no money nor food, are forced to follow, as military and police officers will penalize them otherwise. A casual worker shared, “We might die first of hunger before COVID-19 infects us.”

The public health crisis due to the pandemic may lead to decreased maternal health and increased infant mortality rates. In the face of these real threats, our government officials do nothing but prove their incompetence, opportunism, and greed.

Five doctors have perished in the fight against the pandemic. Hundreds of medical workers are under quarantine. Hospitals are forced to turn away patients due to lack of facilities. The positive cases and death rates related to COVID-19 shoot up everyday. And when we turn to the government for help, we find nothing but corruption.

Pimentel’s irresponsible actions, which have endangered the medical personnel, patients, pregnant mothers, infants, workers, and other people he encountered outside his home, align with and reflect the national government’s lack of wisdom and conscientiousness in responding to COVID-19 as a public health concern. Amid the pandemic, so-called public servants wield their power for their personal gain and interests as shown in the VIP testing and in Duterte’s scramble to obtain emergency powers and the Php 275 billion emergency fund.

Our call for government’s accountability and proper action remains. #FreeMassTestingNow! #PimentelResign! #DuqueResign! #OustDuterte!

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