HEALTH Secretary Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial on Monday denounced the shooting of provincial health officer Vicente Soco of Dinagat Island, the latest in a string of murders victimizing rural doctors.
“Killing a town’s physician is almost like killing the countless people who rely on this physician to ensure their health and longevity. While murdering a doctor leaves behind a bereaved spouse, children, siblings, parents, and other family [members]and friends, it also leaves behind an untold number of people whose lives become endangered when they are deprived of vital healthcare services this doctor provided,” Ubial said in a statement.
She added they are doing all they can to protect government doctors, most especially in underserved areas.
However, she stressed, the government can only do so much to address the issue and that doctors can only be truly safe if protected by the community.
“We call for the speedy resolution of the murder of Dr. Vicente Soco, and of the other government physicians who lost their lives to violent crimes in the past several months. We enjoin our nation’s law enforcement, justice organizations and witnesses to bring the early resolution of the case so perpetrators of this crime will be put to justice and do what it takes to deter any further killings by these outlaws,” Ubial said.
Soco was shot dead at a gas station on September 14 by a gunman riding a motorcycle.
He is the sixth doctor killed this year. Before Soco, there were Dreyfuss Perlas of Lanao del Norte; Jaja Sinolinding of Cotabato and George Repique of Cavite. The other two cases happened in the Autonomous
Region in Muslim Mindanao and Tarlac.