MANILA, Philippines — “Un-Christian” was how presidential spokesman Harry Roque on Monday merely dismissed – and did not answer – a question about how he was able to quickly obtain a hospital room for his COVID-19 treatment when ordinary Filipinos are forced to wait in tents outside medical facilities and endure long queues for space in supposedly crowded Metro Manila hospitals.
The COVID-positive high-ranking Palace official said in a briefing that he started his isolation at home but had to be rushed to the hospital after his oxygen level dropped to 90.
“With all due respect, I think that’s an un-Christian question,” was Roque’s reply to a query posed by a reporter that was read by Presidental Communications Usec. Rocky Ignacio during the online media conference.
On April 10, Roque revealed he is in an undisclosed hospital for COVID-19 treatment.
He first announced he contracted COVID-19 on March 15 and has recovered on March 25 when he already tested negative for SARS-CoV-2, the new coronavirus that causes severe respiratory ailment.
The next day, he said he already “feels normal” on his third day in hospital confinement.
Roque said doctors won’t discharge him until he has completed four more vials of remdesivir, which means he may have to stay in the hospital until Thursday, April 15.
Many have questioned Roque’s immediate hospitalization, with others pointing out he received special treatment, especially amid reports of hospitals reaching full capacity, forcing patients to either wait in long lines in the emergency room, isolate themselves in their cars, or being told to go home.
Some have even reportedly died in emergency rooms without getting admitted or getting medical intervention.
Roque did not answer the reporter’s question and instead gave assurance that all persons needing medical service will be provided help under the Duterte administration because of the Universal Health Care law.
“Ang aking assurance lang, sa administration ni President Duterte, lahat ng mayroong pangangailangang medical ay mabibigyan ng tulong at ‘yan din naman ay dahil doon sa ating sinulong na universal health care noong 17th Congress,” he added.
(My assurance is, under President Duterte’s administration, all of those who need medical attention will be provided help and that is because of the universal health care that we pushed in the 17th Congress.)
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