Malacañang on Sunday slammed as fake news allegations that the Department of Health (DoH) ordered a hospital to stop counting the number of people who died in the facility due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
The President’s spokesman and chief legal counsel, Secretary Salvador Panelo, said there’s no sense n keeping from the public the number of COVID-19 deaths.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, as well as the concerned hospital, East Avenue Medical Center in Quezon City, flatly denied the allegations made by broadcaster Arnold Clavio through his social media postings.
“We are precisely interested in knowing the number of deaths so that we will know the status of our fight against the coronavirus, so we can undertake measures to improve our health system. Obviously it’s a false news,” Panelo told the Daily Tribune.
Cabinet Secretary and Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) spokesperson Karlo Nograles also denied the allegation and reiterated that government doesn’t have that kind of policy.
In a press briefing done through teleconferencing, Nograles said that it is the responsibility of the government to give the public all the facts relating to the outbreak and it is not in their interest to deceive the public.
“Another report we wish to respond to involves allegations that the government has given directives to suppress information regarding COVID-19 fatalities. Sa madaling salita, hindi po ito totoo. Naglabas po ng pahayag ang Department of Health na wala po silang ganitong utos sa ating mga ospital. Wala pong ganitong polisiya ang inyong pamahalaan,” Nograles said.
“As you all know, various government functionaries regularly appear on media to give updates on the different actions being taken in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Tuloy-tuloy po ang pagbibigay ng balita ukol sa COVID-19 response dahil alam po namin na mahalaga po ito para sa inyo. This outbreak concerns all of us, so we recognize that it is our responsibility to give you the facts, all the facts, and nothing but the facts. You deserve nothing less,” he added.
Nograles advised the public to be careful regarding news or rumors being peddled or shared through social media sites.
“Kaya po, uulitin po namin na mag-ingat po tayo sa mga balita o chismis na fino-forward at pino-post. Our efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak must be complemented by our efforts to contain misinformation and disinformation. Lalo na pagdating sa mga balita involving our health, about possible remedies for the diseases and similar unsubstantiated claims,” Nograles said.