Senator Christopher "Bong" Go on Thursday said that changing leadership within the Department of Health (DOH) was difficult in the middle of the country's battle against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Several senators filed a resolution seeking his immediate resignation "for his failure of leadership, negligence, lack of foresight, and inefficiency."
"Nais ko rin ipahatid ang aking posisyon na sa panahong ito, mahirap na magpalit pa tayo ng kapitan sa gitna ng digmaan," Go, President Rodrigo Duterte's most trusted aide, said in a statement.
Instead, the senator called on the public and other officials to lend their suport to the department.
"Ibang klaseng giyera ang hinaharap natin ngayon at ang kalaban ay hindi natin nakikita. Kailangan ang kooperasyon ng lahat. DOH cannot do it alone," Go said.
"Nakikiusap ako sa mga kasamahan ko sa gobyerno at sa publiko, sinusugal na ng lahat ang buhay nila sa laban na ito. We are fighting for survival. Laban naman ito ng bawat mamamayang Pilipino. Kaya dapat ay magtulungan at magbayanihan muna tayo ngayon," he added.
Go acknowledged that not only Duque but also the whole Health department was somewhat inefficient in dealing with the virus.
"Nirerespeto ko ang posisyon ng mga kasamahan ko sa Senado. At sumasang-ayon ako na merong mga pagkukulang, hindi lang si Sec. Duque, kundi ang buong DOH," he said.
"Marahil lahat rin ng tao sa DOH, hirap na gumalaw with all the cases they are facing. Sila mismo ay pilay na rin since many of our health officials are sidelined," he added.
Go pointed out that 51 individuals within the DOH have tested positive for COVID-19.
"Kung merong dapat managot, papanagutin natin sa tamang panahon," he said.
President Rodrigo Duterte has reportedly decided that Duque will stay at the helm of the Health Department.
For his part, Duque said that he will continue to serve the country in his best capacity despite the senators' call for him to resign.
"Nevertheless, this should be an eye-opener for DOH to shape up. Gampanan nila ang tungkulin nila sa panahon na pinakakinakailangan ang kanilang mabilis na aksyon," Go said.
According to Go, the Health department should have no excuses as Duterte had given them the appropriate resources to handle the pandemic.
"Kailangan rin nilang mas makinig sa mga hinanaing ng mga tao at sa mga Senador na kinatawan ng mga mamamayang Pilipino," he added.
Go is among the senators who did not sign the resolution seeking for Duque’s resignation of his fellow senators but admitted that the DOH had lapses in responding to the Covid-19 situation.
The senators who signed the resolution are Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto III, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel "MIgz" Zubiri, Senators Juan Edgardo "Sonny" Angara, Nancy Binay, Grace Poe, Emmanuel "Manny" Pacquiao, Sherwin Gatchalian, Francis Tolentino, Joel Villanueva, Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa, Imee Marcos, Lito Lapid, Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr., and Panfilo "Ping" Lacson.