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Pandemic vultures

Why on earth discredit a workable program when this administration’s Health Department doesn’t even have such a similar initiative?

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Despicable doesn’t even begin to describe predatory vultures preying on peoples’ miseries during this pandemic crisis.

Aside from hoarders, profiteers, price gougers, and fakers of common flu medicines, I’m also pointing out here vultures using the catastrophic pandemic to further political partisanship.

Both vulture types provoke the same horror and scandal we feel while standing in line, for the first time ever, for rationed 20 tablets of paracetamol.

But while there’s widespread censure of profiteers, there’s perceptibly a lukewarm response on attacks by political partisans against useful health services intended for poor pandemic victims.

I find this upsetting.

I specifically refer here to recent attacks against the nearly year-old initiative of Vice President Leni Robredo, the Bayanihan E-Konsulta.

Ms. Robredo quickly and strongly denounced the obviously false claims the teleconsultation program is allegedly being used for gathering voters’ data.

But other than her denunciations and those echoed by her supporters, however, there have been no serious objections.

But we should vehemently call it out.

One need not be a political partisan to find this development appalling.

Anything which sabotages any workable health service program helping us through a ravaging pandemic is damnable.

Admittedly, damning with suspicions workable programs of a rival political camp by political partisans is a matter of political expediency.

But all the more this should prompt us to know fairly what the Bayanihan E-Konsulta platform does or the benefits it brings.

Besides volunteer doctors and health personnel providing free medical consultations to callers from Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal using the Facebook Messenger app, the platform also sends out free care kits to recuperating Covid-19 victims.

The packages usually contain a thermometer, a pulse oximeter, medicines, and even a disinfectant. The kits also come with monitor sheets and other instructions recommended by doctors for home care.

Thermometers and oximeters are included since volunteer doctors usually ask for body temperature and oxygen levels during consultations.

Ms. Robredo says she found out most patients have neither an oximeter for checking oxygen levels nor a thermometer to check temperatures.

As it is, there’s nothing out of bounds with the medical consultations or the care kits. In fact, the care packages are crucial for the poor in dire need of them.

As to the insidious false claims the Bayanihan E-Konsulta is allegedly being used to gather voter data, Ms. Robredo says consultation procedures haven’t been altered.

“We didn’t change anything… the doctor will prescribe medication, so all pertinent details are asked. Address, telephone number, what are they feeling, or if they have medical records. Those are being asked,” she says.

Ms. Robredo’s care packages too aren’t the only ones out there. Her rival Manila Mayor Isko Moreno is following her lead and is also providing care kits.

Still, other obviously envious political camps see nothing is terribly wrong with either discrediting or sacrificing workable programs, prompting Ms. Robredo to remark “they should come up with a better program. That’s the best way to discredit our program. But to discredit using fake news, that is so unfair.”

Ms. Robredo can’t be faulted for taking such a dim view of who among her rivals is sabotaging a workable health service program.

In my view, attacking a good program really does expose how bereft some political camps are of ideas to address the immediate and practical needs of people.

Why on earth discredit a workable program when this administration’s Health Department doesn’t even have such a similar initiative?

Such questions now bring to our larger point of putting politics back in its true place.

Politics is always secondary every time peoples’ welfare is at stake.

Banal as it may sound, we need not always see the world with political eyes, especially during a crisis.

In fact, the great misfortune of our time is precisely that politics pretends to provide us with a catechism and sometimes even with rules for loving or caring for other people. It does not.

The role of politics is merely to keep things in order so we can search for ways and means for immediately aiding those in need, no matter their political color.

Email: [email protected]

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