Health Secretary Francisco Duque III drew the ire of netizens on Tuesday, January 18, after providing an “answer” for Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s inquiry about COVID-19.
The President asked him if the disease is airborne, but Duque blamed the public for their non-compliance to the health protocols rather than respond to Duterte’s inquiry.
“Yung mga tinatamaan Mr. President either mali yung kanilang pagsuot ng mask, nakalabas ang ilong. Useless ‘yan eh. That’s what we call ‘Token compliance.’ But it is the wrong way of doing things. It is the wrong way of complying with our minimum public health standards,” answered the Health Secretary.
His response shook the twitter world.
— Rafael John (covid+ era) (@rafpabustan) January 18, 2022
It was also met with criticism as several netizens were certain that the Philippine pandemic response was inefficient because of him and the Duterte government.
No wonder we're so messed up. No one in @DOHgovph bothered to tell him a year ago that COVID is airborne? Figures why there are no actions re ventilation and air flow. Govt mindset is still virus droplets. https://t.co/LOpM1mCo8i
— Citizen Jane (@citizenjaneph) January 18, 2022
Halatang walang alam at hindi interesado sa COVID pandemic after 2 years of the coronavirus.
No wonder kung bakit sabog pa rin ang plans, programs at execution ni Duterte sa management, directions, at logistic support to address the pandemic. https://t.co/20pFF837v0
— Zaldy Tor (@zaldytor) January 18, 2022
Even Department of Education Secretary Leonor Briones was linked to Duque’s response. A netizen concluded that the incompetence of their respective agencies was because they were trying to butter up Pres. Duterte.
Others were enraged by Duterte’s question and Duque’s answer as they proved to be unaware that the coronavirus is airborne.
Tangina nyong mga bobo. Kayo na lang di aware na airborne ang covid. Di pa kayo namatay parehas. https://t.co/oMPl6fJJgi
— Lawrence (@jclwr) January 18, 2022
TV personality Justin Dizon even ridiculed Duque by calling him “dumb, lazy, [and] incompetent.”
dumb, lazy, incompetent https://t.co/2vdMfXwS13
— Justin Dizon #LeniKiko2022 (@iamjustindizon) January 18, 2022
Meanwhile, Tony Leachon the former adviser for the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) clarified that the virus was indeed airborne.
He also considered Duque’s lack of knowledge about COVID-19 dangerous as it would succumb the country to the virus unless the government has a clear plan of action to combat the new variant.
If the Sec. of Health doesn’t recognize the problem then we are doomed to fail.
It’s airborne. The Omicron variant is highly transmissible too so the plan of action should be clear.
Wear medical grade masks. Stay home. Tests. Isolate. Trace. Quarantine. Vax. Booster. Simple ! https://t.co/m29SRxCnxT
— Tony Leachon MD (@DrTonyLeachon) January 18, 2022
Another medical professional noted that the surge of cases was brought upon by the government and not by the public. He sarcastically encouraged the Health Secretary to show some courage in providing solutions to lessen the number of infected.
After his involvement with the Pharmally Pharmaceuticals Corp controversy back in August 2021, the public urged the DOH secretary to resign from his post.
He was also encouraged to vacate his position after disregarding the safety of health workers and frontliners.