Panelo: What would gov't get from concealing the actual Covid-19 deaths?

Photo courtesy of Philstar and Fashion Pulis

A recent revelation from a known media broadcaster saying that the government has ordered a certain hospital in Metro Manila to stop counting the number of deaths caused by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

However, the Palace has denied the allegations that the Department of Health (DOH) ordered a hospital in Metro Manila to stop counting the number of fatalities caused by the Pandemic.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo refuted the allegation and said it was “bereft of logic and common sense”, that there was nothing the government could gain from concealing the real Covid-19 situation.

“What would the government get from concealing the actual number of deaths due to COVID-19? The government is precisely interested in knowing the number of deaths so that we will know the status of our fight against the coronavirus and we can undertake measures to improve our health system. Obviously, it’s false news,” Panelo noted.

Panelo also added that the DOH has debunked these allegations and has ordered an investigation on the matter.

He said the government is “precisely interested" in knowing the number of Covid-19 deaths to determine the status of our fight against Covid-19 and undertake measures to improve the health system.

The Presidential spokesperson also reiterated that President Duterte himself ordered all concerned government agencies to be transparent in dealing with the health crisis.

“The policy of the President as pronounced by him in his television message to the nation is to be transparent to the Filipino people on any aspect of governance, particularly as in the present crisis, in relation to Covid-19,”  Panelo said.

He also warned the public, especially well known media practitioners, to be more responsible in posting unconfirmed information they receive

“It is more helpful to validate the same with the government offices concerned instead of publishing it which may be accepted by gullible netizens as true,” he added.

Meanwhile, the DOH, clarified in a statement that they have never issued any order to stop reporting of fatalities, or any case related to Covid-19 to any health facility.

Cabinet Secretary and Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) spokesperson Karlo Nograles also denied the allegations.

“Hindi po tayo nag-uutos ng concealment. Bawal po ‘yan (There is no order to conceal Covid-19 fatalities. That is illegal),” Nograles announced.

In a recent post on his official Instagram account, broadcaster Arnold Clavio, cited an unnamed front-liner claiming that there were several bodies littered the hallway of a certain Metro Manila hospital.

Clavio even tagged Health Secretary Francisco Duque III to clarify on the said issue.

Duque posted in his official Twitter account, has promised to investigate right away after Clavio disclosed to him the hospital allegedly involved in the issue.

"The DOH did NOT and will NEVER issue a directive for hospitals to conceal the number of COVID-19 deaths," Duque said.

Under the “Bayanihan To Heal As One Act” or Republic Act 11469, fake news peddlers may be penalized with imprisonment of two months or a fine ranging from PHP10,000 to PHP1 million.

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