ANGELES CITY — It isn’t over yet, apparently.
The controversy over the lockdown of the Philippine Rehabilitation Institute (PRI) Medical Center, and its subsequent “reopening” upon intervention of Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Ano took another turn Tuesday.
The Liga ng mga Barangay of this city, during its session on March 31, condemned the PRI for “deceitfully withholding information” regarding the admittance of a Covid-19–positive patient from Quezon City last March 27 which caused widespread panic among citizens.
This, after the Department of Interior and Local Government ordered the reopening of the PRI Medical Center in Barangay Pampang here on Monday which was padlocked by Mayor Carmelo “Pogi” Lazatin Jr. on March 28.
Through Liga Resolution No. 02-0331-001, the Angeles City barangay chairmen, led by Liga ng mga Barangay president Jeremias Alejandrino, denounced the actions taken by PRI in admitting a known Covid-19 positive patient without notifying and coordinating with the city government, in violation of the earlier memorandum of agreement signed between the city government and PRI.
The village chiefs stressed that the lack of transparency on the part of PRI caused “undue distress and panic”among citizens.
This came in the wake of reports alleging that the Covid-19 positive patient admitted by PRI was a relative of the hospital’s owner.
The village chiefs also lambasted the PRI management for their refusal to communicate with the city government, even after Mayor Lazatin personally called them to clarify the situation.
Earlier, Lazatin revealed that he had tried getting in touch with the management of PRI as soon as he heard of the incident at around 6 p.m. of March 28 until 12 a.m. of March 29, but the PRI management refused to take his calls.
But in a radio interview over DZMM anchored by Alvin Elchico on Monday, PRI assistant administrator Dr. Pio Rafael Lim said he was wearing a hazmat suit or personal protective equipment at the time of the call and trying to administer cardio pulmonary resuscitationto the patient as his cellphone was contained in a ziplock plastic bag.
He also reiterated his Hippocratic Oath in trying to revive the patient.
It can be recalled that on March 28, Lazatin ordered the immediate full quarantine of PRI once the city government learned that one Covid-19 positive patient and three persons under investigation from Quezon City were “secretly” admitted by the hospital.