DOH Region 6 holds deployment of doctors to COVID-19 hotspot Cebu City

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 29) — The Department of Health’s (DOH) regional office in Western Visayas said it has put on hold the deployment of doctors to Cebu City, after the first batch of medical team raised concerns regarding the directive.

“Until meeting today, June 29, members of the first batch of the medical team personally expressed their concern to the CHD (Center for Health Development) director,” read a statement released by the DOH-CHD in Region 6 on Monday.

“As such, deployment will be temporarily held in abeyance until issues and concerns are settled with all concerned physicians and other stakeholders,” it continued.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III earlier issued a directive to deploy additional physicians, including Doctors to the Barrios (DTTBs), to Cebu City, following the reported “understaffing” of health workers in the area.

READ: DOH orders deployment of doctors to Cebu City to help in COVID-19 fight

In compliance with the order, the DOH-CHD Region 6 said it has identified a total of 39 doctors, which will be sent in four batches. Their deployment was supposed to commence on Monday, June 29.

The decision to temporarily suspend the move also came after DTTB Batches 36 and 37 opposed the order in a joint statement on Sunday. The concerned doctors said they were not properly informed or briefed through writing. They added that there was no proper consultation prior to the order’s rollout.

They likewise called on the DOH to “rethink” the directive, with the DTTB seeking inclusive dialogue between the government and other concerned stakeholders.

Meanwhile, Health spokesperson Ma. Rosario Vergeire said in a virtual press briefing on Monday that they are currently in dialogue with the DTTBs regarding the matter.

“The department acted within the bounds of its authority when it ordered the redeployment of the Doctors to the Barrios,” she added. The agency also appealed to healthcare workers to “heed the call of duty during these daunting times.”