#FLATTENTHEFEAR campaign being investigated for violations

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 21) — The Department of the Interior and Local Government is investigating possible violations committed by members of the Concerned Doctors and Citizens of the Philippines who joined the launch of #FlattenTheFear campaign in Pasig City on Thursday, according to Health spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire.

Vergeire said mass gatherings were still prohibited and that the participants present at the launch were seen not wearing masks and face shields.

"Necessary sanctions will be meted out. Una po bawal yun, wala pa tayong pinapayagan na mass gathering dito sa guidelines na pinalalabas ng IATF. Nakita natin sa video halos lahat sila walang mask," she said on Monday. 

[Translation: Necessary sanctions will be meted out. First, according to IATF guidelines, mass gatherings are not allowed yet. We saw in the video that nearly all participants were not wearing masks.]

The group, led by former Health secretary Jaime Galvez-Tan, urged President Rodrigo Duterte to adopt a national protocol for the prophylaxis or preventive healthcare and early treatment of COVID- 19 to reduce instances of hospitalization and prevent deaths.

"With this solution in mind, we appeal to the President to lift all lockdowns to allow people to go on with their lives," Galvez-Tan said, adding that they were willing to meet with the IATF to discuss their suggested protocols.

The group said the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine may be used as prophylaxis to prevent COVID-19 infection.

But Vergeire said hydroxychloroquine was no longer part of the list of drugs being studied for COVID-19 treatment. The WHO stopped using the drug in June after research from the United Kingdom's Recovery trial showed it did not help reduce the deaths among hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

"Ibase po natin sa ebidensya lahat ng nirerekomenda sa kababayan ukol sa COVID-19 dahil ito ay maaaring makasama. Sa bawat gamot na irerekomenda para gamitin, para sa sakit na ito...kailangan mag-undergo ng regulatory process," she said.

[Translation: We will base all recommendations that we will give to our countrymen regarding COVID-19 on evidence, because of the harm that it could bring. All medicines recommended for this illness...have to undergo a regulatory process.]

Nether the DILG nor Galvez-Tan's group has issued a statement on the issue.