Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel was tested positive for COVID-19. He announced this only today, Wednesday, Mar. 25. He said he received the news Tuesday night while he was at the Makati Medical Center (MMC) with his pregnant wife. However, he was already a Person Under Investigation (PUI) four days prior, when his sample was taken.
By visiting the hospital while being a PUI, he not only violated the rules of strict home quarantine, but has also risked the safety of the medical workers in the hospital. The MMC, in an announcement denouncing Pimentel’s breach of protocols, states that a number of doctors and nurses are forced into quarantine due to possible infection from the senator. The Delivery Room Complex also had to to undergo decontamination and disinfection before it can be used again.
When news about his visit to the hospital surfaced on social media, he was immediately slammed by netizens who emphasized the senator’s irresponsibility and arrogance. On the other hand, Kathryna Pimentel, the senator’s wife denied that her husband entered the hospital’s delivery room. However, the statement from MMC itself proves otherwise.
As a government official, Senator Pimentel must have known the importance of following the protocol of home quarantine that the government he is a part of himself has implemented. His irresponsible actions reflect upon the Senate as a violation to their own protocols, and endangered the lives of frontliners, who are vital but depleting in number.
Only a few days prior, on Mar. 22, there were reports on a doctor’s death due to a patient’s dishonesty when asked about his medical condition and travel history. The senator mirrors these actions by not publicizing his being a PUI. His reckless actions have caused more burden upon the already hectic workload of MMC. In the hospital’s statements, they fervently denounce the senator’s actions.
“By his actions, he contributed no solution. In fact, he created another problem for Makati Medical Center, the very institution which embraced his wife for obstetric care.” wrote Saturnino P. Javier, M.D., medical director of MMC.
Following a long list of the government’s incompetency and detachment from the masses during the quarantine period, Pimentel’s actions, which evidently caused harm among frontliners, should be a turning point for the government to finally be more cautious and sensitive with their actions and words. What the Filipino citizens need more than ever are clear and supportive solutions, not more reasons to question our government officials.
Header photo courtesy of Cathy Miranda from Inquirer.net
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