CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – The head of Region 10’s referral hospital for Covid-19 treatment explained his absence from duty is due to his leave of absence, shooting down speculation that he had resigned over a labor issue with health workers.
Dr. Jose Chan, chief of the Department of Health-run Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC), said that he only taking an 11-day leave.
Dr. Bernard Rocha, a medical specialist at NMMC, relayed Chan’s statement to reporters, saying that the NMMC chief is on official leave from July 20 to 31.
Chan has been the hospital chief for 12 years, and was noticeably absent the past days when Covid-19 cases are rising in Northern Mindanao, particularly in Cagayan de Oro.
As of July 21, DOH-10 has reported 430 Covid-19 cases, with 373 of them returning residents either from abroad or from other parts of the country.
Rocha said it is not Chan’s attitude to walk away from this major health crisis. He pointed out that prior to his taking leave, an incident command system was already created to address the coronavirus pandemic.
One of the issues that was raised in relation to Chan’s leave of absence is the unreleased hazard pay for the NMMC medical workers. Rocha said the hazard pay has already been approved by the DOH, but NMMC is still waiting for the funds.
He said the non-regular employees will receive the hazard pay first.
Rocha added that Chan had already applied for retirement from public service last year, citing health and family reasons, but the request was not yet approved by Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.
He said Chan can opt to retire as he has been in government service for more than 15 years. (davaotoday.com)