Majority of Filipinos call for DOH Sec. Duque’s resignation, doubt DOH’s data


The Department of Health (DOH), led by Secretary Francisco Duque, has been at the forefront of the country’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic or COVID-19. In the last months, the DOH has received both praise and backlash in its approach to address the global health crisis—from questions of inconsistencies in its data to the quality of Secretary Duque’s leadership.

In this report, WR Numero sought to assess the opinions of the public towards Secretary Duque’s performance and the reliability of the DOH’s data and information. We also examined the public’s perception on the issue of “second wave” of COVID-19 infections in the country.

WR Numero used the convenience survey method with 5,559 respondents nationwide within the period of May 25 to 26, 2020 and data mining method of political sentiments of around 94,741 Facebook digital engagements between April 16 and May 28, 2020.

The survey result revealed that only 2 out of 10 respondents are happy with Duque’s performance as DOH Secretary, while more than half trust the information and data being released by the DOH. A third of the respondents, however, were unsure about Secretary Duque’s performance as well as the reliability of DOH’s data. The digital landscape, on the other hand, had been much more critical of the Department and its Secretary. More than half of online sentiments were criticisms, with calls for Secretary Duque’s resignation and doubts in DOH’s data due to various errors in its reports.

On the topic of the “second wave” of COVID-19 infections, 6 out of 10 of those who were surveyed believe that the country is not yet in the second wave of infections. This was followed by Secretary Duque’s announcement that the Philippines is already experiencing it, which was later on retracted by Malacañang in one of its press briefings. As such, the Secretary received a great deal of backlash from online netizens with 96% negative sentiments due to his misleading and dangerous claim. Nevertheless, vast majority of survey respondents agree that the government should impose a community quarantine again once the second wave of COVID-19 infections occur.

The Senate Resolution addressed directly to Sec. Duque demanding his resignation was an astonishing political moment. Among those who signed the Resolution were Senate President Tito Sotto, Migz Zubiri, Sonny Angara, Nancy Binay, Grace Poe, Manny Pacquiao, Win Gatchalian, Francis Tolentino, Joel Villanueva, Bato dela Rosa, Imee Marcos, Lito Lapid, Bong Revilla, and Ping Lacson. Opposition Senators also expressed support.

Sec. Duque refused to heed the call, however, and expressed instead how the events hurt his feelings, “It’s just unfortunate and I’m really hurt that it is at this time that the Senate is calling for my resignation when it is time for us to come together. We need to unite when we have such an invisible enemy. How I wish the Senate had been more magnanimous and appreciative of the efforts that we have put in place by the time the COVID-19 began in this country,” Duque said.

What the Secretary fails to realize is that these same Senators were the ones who drafted and passed the emergency powers that the President so needed to effectively fight the pandemic. The Senators who were demanding for Duque’s resignation were trying to stay true to the provisions they put in place in the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act; and by letting Duque continue to incompetently hold the helm as we traverse through this health crisis is a huge slap to their faces. There was also a strong public clamor to rid Duque of his position, as shown in the results of the study, due to his incompetence and many instances of discrepancies in his agency’s data.

More than Duque’s disregard to grant calls for his resignation, him still being DOH’s Secretary despite all the clamor speaks much more about President Duterte. The President has time and time again continues to defend and express his confidence rather than having to fire one of his own appointees. Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque even said that all Cabinet members, including Duque, serve at the pleasure of the President—putting the pressure on the Palace and away from individuals directly tasked to craft guidelines and implement measures to address the pandemic.

It has been more than two months since the lockdown was imposed and the public has yet to see a concrete response from the government to tackle the situation. Many believe that replacing Duque is the first step, others think that it is ill-timed. Regardless, the goal is to curb the spread of the virus and save as much lives as possible while keeping the economy afloat. More than anything, the COVID-19 pandemic has become a crucial test of leadership and governance for the Duterte administration.

In this report, WR Numero sought to assess the opinions of the public towards Secretary Duque’s performance and the reliability of the DOH’s data and information. We also examined the public’s perception on the issue of “second wave” of COVID-19 infections in the country.

WR Numero used the convenience survey method with 5,559 respondents nationwide within the period of May 25 to 26, 2020 and data mining method of political sentiments of around 94,741 Facebook digital engagements between April 16 and May 28, 2020.

The survey result revealed that only 2 out of 10 respondents are happy with Duque’s performance as DOH Secretary, while more than half trust the information and data being released by the DOH. A third of the respondents, however, were unsure about Secretary Duque’s performance as well as the reliability of DOH’s data. The digital landscape, on the other hand, had been much more critical of the Department and its Secretary. More than half of online sentiments were criticisms, with calls for Secretary Duque’s resignation and doubts in DOH’s data due to various errors in its reports.

On the topic of the “second wave” of COVID-19 infections, 6 out of 10 of those who were surveyed believe that the country is not yet in the second wave of infections. This was followed by Secretary Duque’s announcement that the Philippines is already experiencing it, which was later on retracted by Malacañang in one of its press briefings. As such, the Secretary received a great deal of backlash from online netizens with 96% negative sentiments due to his misleading and dangerous claim. Nevertheless, vast majority of survey respondents agree that the government should impose a community quarantine again once the second wave of COVID-19 infections occur.

The Senate Resolution addressed directly to Sec. Duque demanding his resignation was an astonishing political moment. Among those who signed the Resolution were Senate President Tito Sotto, Migz Zubiri, Sonny Angara, Nancy Binay, Grace Poe, Manny Pacquiao, Win Gatchalian, Francis Tolentino, Joel Villanueva, Bato dela Rosa, Imee Marcos, Lito Lapid, Bong Revilla, and Ping Lacson. Opposition Senators also expressed support.

Sec. Duque refused to heed the call, however, and expressed instead how the events hurt his feelings, “It’s just unfortunate and I’m really hurt that it is at this time that the Senate is calling for my resignation when it is time for us to come together. We need to unite when we have such an invisible enemy. How I wish the Senate had been more magnanimous and appreciative of the efforts that we have put in place by the time the COVID-19 began in this country,” Duque said.

What the Secretary fails to realize is that these same Senators were the ones who drafted and passed the emergency powers that the President so needed to effectively fight the pandemic. The Senators who were demanding for Duque’s resignation were trying to stay true to the provisions they put in place in the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act; and by letting Duque continue to incompetently hold the helm as we traverse through this health crisis is a huge slap to their faces. There was also a strong public clamor to rid Duque of his position, as shown in the results of the study, due to his incompetence and many instances of discrepancies in his agency’s data.

More than Duque’s disregard to grant calls for his resignation, him still being DOH’s Secretary despite all the clamor speaks much more about President Duterte. The President has time and time again continues to defend and express his confidence rather than having to fire one of his own appointees. Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque even said that all Cabinet members, including Duque, serve at the pleasure of the President—putting the pressure on the Palace and away from individuals directly tasked to craft guidelines and implement measures to address the pandemic.

It has been more than two months since the lockdown was imposed and the public has yet to see a concrete response from the government to tackle the situation. Many believe that replacing Duque is the first step, others think that it is ill-timed. Regardless, the goal is to curb the spread of the virus and save as much lives as possible while keeping the economy afloat. More than anything, the COVID-19 pandemic has become a crucial test of leadership and governance for the Duterte administration.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *