The public deserves the truth

By: Francis Allan L. Angelo

FIRSTLY, we thank our health workers, both in the public and private sectors, for being the heroes in this time of crisis caused by the dengue outbreak. Our doctors, nurses, medical technologists, and other health workers have sacrificed so much to save lives. Their dedication and compassion are admirable and beyond compare.

Thank you for your service!

Second, the management of Daily Guardian stands by the editorial team for its efforts to consciously report on the current dengue outbreak situation. Our purpose here is to educate and inform the public of what’s happening on the ground and what we can do, both individually and collectively, to stem the rising cases of dengue.

We also commend Dr. Mae Albacete of the Maasin Rural Health Unit in Maasin, Iloilo for being forthcoming about the situation in their town. In our view, her statement in the video we uploaded on July 23, 2019 was just one of the facets of the crisis we are facing that needs to be addressed.

The Iloilo Provincial Health Office, through Dr. Maria Socorro Colmenares-Quiñon, requested Daily Guardian to take down Dr. Albacete’s video interview which was posted on our official Facebook page. Again, the intention was to bring to public attention the situation on the ground and help come up with the appropriate response to Dr. Albacete’s concerns.

In a phone conversation with the undersigned, Dr. Quiñon said the video could cause friction among our public health sector stakeholders, particularly our dedicated doctors and hospitals. The resulting conflict will distract our health workers from the more pressing issue of stemming the rising dengue cases, Dr. Quiñon added.

Inevitably, the video has elicited comments from netizens, some of which blamed a medical institution. But it also prompted some individuals, especially from the medical sector, to offer their help for free in order to stem this health crisis.

We also don’t want to cause undue distractions to our medical workers. As much as possible, we want to help gather and bring solutions and help, especially to dengue patients. This we have done by giving regular updates and tips to the public on how to prevent the spread of this infection.

But we cannot take down the video for reasons of editorial independence and the right of the public to be informed of what’s happening on the ground.

We do recognize that all efforts must be focused on saving lives, thus every concern or problem that arise from this crisis must be raised to public attention. Now that Dr. Albacete has aired her concerns, we believe that appropriate interventions have already been undertaken.

We believe that we have achieved our mission on this aspect. That is all that matters to us. We are willing to share in the sacrifices of our health workers and other concerned sectors to ease the situation.

At the end of the day, it is the intelligent Ilonggos who will judge our actions and decisions, not the number of likes and comments we garner in social media.