Malacañang has vowed to address the concerns of medical professionals and health workers nationwide after a physicians’ group published a letter detailing their various woes in their fight against the ongoing pandemic.

Physicians called their current state a “losing battle” against COVID-19, citing congested hospitals, growing infections among healthcare workers, contact tracing efforts “failing miserably, among others.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte will meet with the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) Sunday to discuss the medical workers’ concerns.

On Saturday, the Philippine College of Physicians (PCP) called for a “time out” in a live online discussion attended by various medical professionals, hospital directors, and healthcare worker groups nationwide.

“The Philippine healthcare system is already overwhelmed, and the healthcare workers are united in sounding a distress signal to the nation,” said PCP president Dr. Mario Panaligan, reading aloud a letter during the discussion.

A joint statement, with more than 80 signatures from various medical professionals, was published on the PCP Facebook page on the same day. The statement urged the national government to bring back stricter quarantine measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.

“We are in a losing battle against COVID-19, and we need to come up with a consolidated plan. Hence, we, as frontliners dedicated to winning the battle against COVID-19, call on our government to put Mega Manila back to Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) for a period of two weeks, from August 1 to 15,” the statement read.

The statement further reiterated the top problems hospitals and medical workers face, such as a weakening workforce due to health workers getting infected. Other concerns included the lack of clear contact tracing guidelines and the lack of safe transportation options for areas without public transport.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that the national Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) will be addressing the presented concerns. Earlier today (August 2), he confirmed in a message to a national news agency that President Duterte will be holding a meeting today to discuss the medical workers’ concerns.

“Your voices have been heard. We cannot afford to let down our modern heroes. This is our commitment,” Roque said August 1.

“The President will meet with key Cabinet members today to discuss yesterday’s letter from the frontliners. I will make the proper announcement in due course,” he added the next day.