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In case you missed yesterday’s news, on National Heroes Day, August 30, health care workers from different hospitals around Metro Manila staged a protest to call for the release of overdue benefits and the resignation of Health Secretary Francisco Duque.

Echoing similar protests last year, health care workers staged the protest to draw attention to their grievances, which are rooted in the Department of Health’s “[refusal] to provide for health workers’ Covid-19 benefits, safety, and protection,” Alliance of Health Workers (AHW) national president Robert Mendoza has been quoted as saying.

While Filipinos on social media have been sympathetic of the health care workers’ concerns, one key figure was decidedly not.

Teddy Herbosa, a prominent surgeon who serves as a special advisor to the National Task Force on COVID-19, yesterday said that those who joined the protests did not deserve to be called heroes. Tweeting a graphic that thanked “Healthcare Heroes” on National Heroes Day, Herbosa captioned it, “Except yung mga nag protest ha!” (“Except those who joined the protest!”).

In subsequent comments, Herbosa implied that the health care workers shouldn’t have been protesting because it was “their duty to serve patients” and “avoid high risk [superspreader] events”.

Responding to a commenter, Herbosa also said, “If the health environment is too toxic for you, just resign and get another job.”

Twitter took Herbosa to task for his comments, pointing out that it was the government’s duty to look after the welfare of those in the health care system—and that the former Health Undersecretary might not understand the plight of ill-paid workers.

Herbosa has also implied that the protesters may not be health care workers. He has retweeted comments and replies saying that the protesters wearing scrubs and PPEs were in “costume”.

This isn’t the first time Herbosa has been in hot water for his tweets. In April, he apologized for his “death by community pantry” tweet, a response to the death of a woman while in line at a community pantry. A day later, Herbosa resigned from his post at the University of the Philippines, where he served as executive vice president beginning in 2017.

Prior to that, he was also criticized for sharing a rape joke on his Facebook account.

Read: Bataan vaccine center’s choice of entertainment goes viral

This article, IATF advisor says health care workers who protested aren’t heroes, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia’s leading alternative media company.

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