Earlier today, the words ‘Gwen Garcia’ and ‘#NoToDoctorShaming’ trended on Twitter nationwide after Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia called out two doctors yesterday during her daily Facebook Live updates. This also became a hot topic and led to many opinions posted by the netizens on social media.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Cebu Capitol has issued an official statement in response to the issue against Gov. Garcia’s advocacy for steam inhalation and her act of calling out two doctors for cursing her and threatening to slap her.
Below is the official statement:
“1. Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia has high respect for medical frontliners. She works side by side with DOH Regional Director Dr. Jaime Bernadas and Dr. Christina Giango of the Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) in dealing with the pandemic. She has nothing against those who do not believe in steam inhalation or “Tu-ob.” She has read online posts against it, and received a letter from a certain Dr. Omid Etemadi calling on public officials not to advocate the use of Tu-ob. Yet all these did not evoke a strong response from the governor.
However, the actions of Dr. Candy Krista Abrera Pilapil and Dr. Lani Rae Seeto have crossed the line. They not only mocked steam inhalation and those who practice it, they also wished ill of Capitol employees, and even threatened to slap the governor. With that, they went beyond their Hippocratic Oath to care and protect.
It was Dr. Pilapil who shamed the Tu-ob advocacy and those who practice it: “Kung makada’g memorandum, murag doctor naka prescribe… Mahurot jud nang mga empleyado sa inyong workstations.” Dr. Seeto went as far as making threatening remarks for the governor, “Puede sagpaon nako siya kausa lang” and “Basin ganahan mo daoban ta mo para deretso cremate” just because she does not agree to the governor’s memo encouraging this alternative health regimen.
Gov. Garcia’s action was in response to the unethical behaviors coming from two doctors, who violated their Hippocratic Oath that set proper conduct and ethical standards.
As the governor said, “I have very high respect for frontliners, but I am very disappointed at these two.”
The governor has been consistent in her message that it is the people’s choice on whether to practice steam inhalation or not. The medical experts have announced that there is no cure yet nor a vaccine against Covid, and it is her duty to tell the millions of Cebuanos in the province that there is an alternative that could help boost their immune system, along with other home remedies.
Her advocacy is supported by people who claim to have benefitted from it, including no less than the secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government, Eduardo Año.
So, to all those who do not believe in Tu-ob, it’s okay. To each his own. It is your choice. But do not mock, threaten to slap or wish to burn others who do.
2. The governor is not focusing merely on Tu-ob as preventive measure, nor is she claiming it to be a cure for Covid-19. She is also not teaching people to be complacent about the virus. Tu-ob is only one of the many health regimen encouraged to be used to boost the immune system, along with turmeric, lemon, exercise, and taking of vitamin C, zinc and other supplements which is contained in her Executive Order No. 17.
In fact, in the same order from the governor, she mandates minimum public health standards such as wearing of face masks in public places, hand washing or sanitizing, placing of disinfecting foot baths in workplaces, temperature checks and safe physical distancing.
As anti-Covid regulation, she has ordered the imposition of curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., and ordered those below 21 years old and “persons with immunodeficiencies” from going out. Still as anti-Covid measure, persons from other provinces are not allowed into Cebu, recreation establishments remain closed, and she ordered the non use of air con units in establishments. Revocation of the business permit by the local government unit even awaits establishments who fail to follow public health safety requirements.
Tu-ob is only one of the many health regimens being encouraged to boost immune system against Covid-19. In her EO, she mentioned drinking of eight to 12 glasses of water a day, warm turmeric-salabat tea twice a day, freshly squeezed calamansi juice twice a day, sleeping eight hours a day, maintaining a balanced diet, staying under the sun for at least 30 minutes between 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 3 pm. to 6 p.m. and regular taking of vitamin C, B and Zinc.
The governor has even ordered the strict physical distancing in private vehicles and limits their capacity to four for sedan and pickup and five for sports and Asian utility vehicles and vans. For churches, her order is to limit people per pew, the installation of sanitizers and the routine disinfection of church premises.
3. The governor’s advocacy for alternative and traditional medicine is not illegal, nor contrary to science.
In 1992, then Department of Health Secretary Juan Flavier launched the alternative medicine program. In 1997, former President Fidel V. Ramos signed into law Republic Act 8423, also known as the Traditional and Alternative Medicine Act of 1997, an Act creating the Philippine Institute of Traditional and Alternative Health Care (PITAHC) to accelerate the development of traditional and alternative health-care in the Philippines.
The PITAHC is a government body that pushes for traditional ways of healing for poor people who have no access to western medicines.
The bottomline is, Gov. Gwen Garcia, in putting Tu-ob to light, is only giving Cebuanos an affordable, alternative health care option for those who would want to try it. This is especially since there is no known cure or vaccine for Covid-19 yet, and there are many testimonials from those who felt better because of it.”
Meanwhile, below is the response of Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia to the Twitter posts calling her out:
Watch the excerpt of the Facebook Live video here: