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President Rodrigo Duterte issued through Proclamation 976 declaring 2020 as the “Year of Filipino Health Workers” to recognize the heroism and self-compassion of medical workers in the country amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

Duterte signed Proclamation 976 on July 6, as he noted that the Covid-19 crisis has posed a daunting challenge to the country's health sector.

“There is a need to commemorate the immeasurable acts of heroism and selfless compassion of nurses, midwives, and all health workers, and give due honor to those who sacrificed their lives in the line of service, especially during this extraordinary time,” he said in the proclamation.

Under the presidential proclamation, the Department of Health (DOH) is tasked to lead, coordinate, and supervise the nationwide observance of the Year of Filipino Health Workers.

All other government agencies and instrumentalities, including government-owned or -controlled corporations and state universities and colleges, are directed to assist DOH in implementing Proclamation 976.

All local government units, business communities, relevant civil society groups, and professional organizations are likewise enjoined to participate and support the DOH to ensure the effective implementation of the proclamation.

Proclamation 976 also encourages all national and local publications, television networks, and radio stations to promote awareness and generate public support for the programs and activities relative to the celebration of the Year of Filipino Health Workers.

“The State recognizes the invaluable contributions of nurses, midwives, and all other health workers, as the backbone of the country's health system, whether in promoting health consciousness, performing essential medical and health services, or responding to health crises in various situations,” the order read.

“Thousands of Filipino health workers, who comprise a major component of the nation's labor force, selflessly and tirelessly provide essential, quality, and critical care to individuals, families, and groups, even in the face of great peril, fear, uncertainty, and vulnerability,” it added.

As of Thursday, the Philippines has recorded 51,754 Covid-19 infections, with 12,813 recoveries and 1,314 deaths.

2nd week of July as ‘Nat’l Infection Prevention and Control Week’

Meanwhile, Duterte also signed Proclamation 971 on June 23, declaring the second week of July every year as “National Infection Prevention and Control Week”.

Proclamation 971 also declares the second Saturday of July of every year as “Surgical Infection Prevention Awareness Day”.

Under the proclamation, Duterte acknowledged the need to emphasize prevention and health promotion as tools to address the threats posed by infection and attain a “safer, more effective, and higher quality of health service delivery.”

“The State recognizes infection as a major health problem, which has a significant impact on mortality, morbidity, and quality of life, and acknowledges that the threats posed by infection resulting in epidemics, pandemics, and antimicrobial resistance have become more evident,” it said.

Proclamation 971 directs the DOH, in coordination with relevant non-government organizations and professional associations, to promote the observance of "National Infection Prevention and Control Week" and "Surgical Infection Prevention Awareness Day”.

All public and private hospitals, including teaching and training hospitals, local government-owned hospitals, clinics, and health facilities, are encouraged to participate and assist in the conduct of relevant programs, projects, and activities for the successful implementation of the proclamation.

Malacañang released the copies of Proclamations 971 and 976 on Friday.


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