SENATE Minority Leader Franklin Drilon voiced alarm about the state of the country’s health care system following the report of the Department of Health (DOH) that hospitals, particularly in Metro Manila, are about to reach the “danger zone” as 82.2% of their total COVID-19 bed capacity is already occupied due to the influx of patients infected by the virus.
“It’s a cause for alarm. Hospital beds are running out. Patients are dying while waiting for hospital beds. Patients are already spreading the virus while waiting for their test results,” Drilon said in a statement on Wednesday.
“These are the issues that millions of Filipinos, myself included, wanted to hear from the President’s 5th State of the Nation Address,” he stressed.
The DOH further warned that the health system is close to being overwhelmed and hospitals in other regions such as Calabarzon and Central Luzon are also nearing the “warning zone” with almost 50% of their bed capacity already occupied.
“What now, DOH?” Drilon asked,“Naghihingalo na po ang ating mga hospital. Hihintayin pa ba natin na umabot sa 100% ang occupancy rate?”
The minority leader reiterated his call for the government to come up with a comprehensive plan to address the pandemic, the rising cases of infection and the effects of the pandemic to the economy.
“We need a concrete plan. Otherwise, we will not be able to move forward in this fight against COVID-19 pandemic. While the rest of the world are already on the road to recovery, the Philippines would always be back to square one without a comprehensive plan,” Drilon stressed.
Drilon said the government could no longer rely on its past strategies, like the shotgun approach in implementing the world’s longest and most stringent lockdowns, saying they were complete failures.
Drilon also said that the “time is ticking” for the DOH as he urged the agency to move as quickly as possible “to prevent overwhelming our health care system.” This is because, Drilon added, if hospitals are overwhelmed, it could cause serious problems and even have devastating consequences for the country.
“We must do everything to prevent the collapse of our health care system,” he said.
Drilon derided the government’s testing and contact tracing efforts as “too slow.”
“Usad pagong po tayo sa testing and contact tracing. These are two of the three Ts where we are really lagging behind. I don’t know where the bottleneck is but we really are too slow,” said Drilon.