Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque’s now viral video, where he was seen berating medical frontliners, has led to numerous—mostly heated—reactions from netizens, healthcare workers, and government officials.
Roque's outburst during the meeting was reportedly in response to Dr. Maricar Limpin, president of the Philippine College of Physicians, who opposed the implementation of the general community quarantine in Metro Manila as it continues to deal with a rising number of infections.
In the clip, he was seen lashing out and stressing that the government is also helping save lives in the time of the pandemic, emphasizing that they “are trying to achieve total health.”
“Who wants COVID to kill people?” questioned Roque. “Are you saying that only medical frontliners are concerned about the health of the people? We all want to save lives! For crying out loud! No one in the government wants a single life lost! No one! How dare you think that we are not considering steps to prevent the loss of lives!”
In an interview with One News after Roque’s apology, Limpin called for the spokesperson to resign.
“The President should actually remove him from office. Palitan na niya because he is not doing service to our president,” Limpin said as tweeted by One News reporter Greg Gregorio.
“As a spokesperson he can convey the message na hindi gano’n. Hindi katulad noong actions na ginawa niya. Definitely, his reaction is not appropriate for a government official.”
JUST IN | Even as Sec. Harry Roque has already apologized for his actions, Dr. Maricar Limpin said Pres. Duterte must now remove Roque as presidential spokesperson. @onenewsph @onenewsph pic.twitter.com/LXjGlCsZwf— Greg Gregorio (@GVGregorio_TV5) September 10, 2021
Various people have also reacted to the leaked video, including netizens, doctors, and local officials.
Only a few agreed that Roque had a point, with one saying that “people will never be satisfied with the response no matter what.”
i see no lies either..these people will never be satisfied with the reaponse no matter what..— alex ruiz (@xandergreen) September 10, 2021
While a Twitter user acknowledged that Roque’s job can be daunting, she tweeted that his reaction was “uncalled for.”
But seriously, his reaction was uncalled for. Bakit, walang efforts ang mga HCW or ung mga tao? We show appreciation by complying. But when we are unable to do so, un ay dahil may compelling reasons & unmet needs. Did they address those? Come out of your cozy bubble, Mr Roque.— We Deserve Better. (@MrsGonzales2018) September 10, 2021
Senator Leila De Lima found Roque's outburst "unwise."
In the time of COVID, it is not wise to berate doctors and health care workers who are risking their lives to save our loved ones from the virus 24/7. Harry Roque should step down if he cannot be as useful, but is arrogant enough to think he is above them.— Leila de Lima (@SenLeiladeLima) September 10, 2021
"Sec. Roque, is this how you treat our modern-day heroes? Remember, they're the medical experts, not you," said Bayan Muna chairperson Neri Colmenares.
‘KALMA, HEALTH EXPERTS SILA’— The Philippine Star (@PhilippineStar) September 10, 2021
Bayan Muna chairman Neri Colmenares on Friday hit Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque after a video of the latter went viral for berating doctors during the online IATF meeting last Tuesday. pic.twitter.com/OVppbBnARE
In an interview on CNN Philippines, Senator Risa Hontiveros called Roque "very rude" as she sought an apology from him to the health workers he berated. "Diyan sa very rude na official na ‘yan, dapat talaga stand in the corner. He owes the doctors an apology."
Mong Palatino, former Kabataan party-list representative, said those who simply point out the administration’s mistakes and shortcomings should not be easily labeled “anti-government.” He also added the hashtag #KalmaAkoLangTo that Roque himself popularized at the time he became the subject of memes.
Mga dapat mabatid ng ating mamamayan sa meltdown ni Harry Roque:— Mong Palatino (@mongster) September 10, 2021
1. Ang pagtukoy sa kakulangan ng pandemic response ay hindi mali o anti-government agad.
2. Hindi natin tungkulin na purihin si Duterte. Kaya na yun ni Bong Go at ng generals#kalmaAkoLangTo
Article thumbnails from Harry Roque's Instagram page