By John Ezekiel J. Hirro

The Philippine College of Physicians (PCP) on Monday clarified that its virtual conference and letter demanding a “time out” was not a threat nor a call for revolution, and said it regretted that President Rodrigo Duterte had taken its message “in a negative light.”

“If you closely review the virtual conference on Aug. 1, there was never a call for a revolt nor was there any threat of leaving patients on their own since our oath instructs us to first do no harm to anyone who needs our help,” said PCP President Dr. Mario Panaligan in a statement.

Panaligan’s clarification came after Duterte lashed out against frontliners in his Sunday address, saying there was no need to publicly air their grievances and “demean” his government.

READ: NOT A REVOLUTION: According to frontliners, they only ‘sounded off PH’s distress signal’ with plea

“By training and our reserved nature, the likes of us are not used to giving out demands or ultimatums but if our requests and observations were taken as an assertive display of indignation, we apologize for the way the message was taken in a negative light,” Panaligan said.

“If we just knew that your office was not briefed in detail about the situation of our workers in both government and private hospitals, we would have sought a private audience with you to settle these issues and made things clear and right,” he added.

The PCP head said that while he appreciated Duterte’s “quick response on the matter,” healthcare workers were “taken aback and surprised” by Duterte calling their plea an threat to the government.

“It was not the intention of the media forum to humiliate the administration and the IATF. The call was for the DOH and IATF to provide healthcare workers a fighting chance in the war against Covid and prevent unnecessary fatalities- NOTHING more,” Panaligan clarified.

“We bear no ill will and have acted without malice towards the implementation of the law and the bayanihan as one goal but our empty cries had to be made known somehow,” he added.

Before going on a lengthy rant against frontliners, Duterte approved the reimposition of modified enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila and nearby areas.

He also promised stipends amounting from P10,000 to P15,000 for health workers.