Today’s episode of “Unang Hirit” got chairman of the Philippine Red Cross, Senator Richard “Dick” Gordon, viral for all the wrong reasons. During a segment on mass testing by news anchor Connie Sison, the chairman snapped at the journalist, cutting her off mid-sentence.
“Can you listen to me please? Kasi parang hindi ka nakikinig eh. Sorry, I had to be very frank,” said the supposed public servant. It’s like a scene straight out of TMZ—but no, this was from a local morning news show.
The discussion was on the Philippine Red Cross’ mass testing efforts for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who were forced to come back home due to COVID-19. In the interview, Sison asked Gordon regarding the P4,500 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing by the humanitarian organization. He clarified that the price is actually P3,500.
She also asked if OFWs can have a faster process for COVID-19 reimbursement. He reasons that the public needs to understand that testing wouldn’t be for free. “Naiintindihan ko sila, pero kung kukulitin mo lahat yan at sasabihin mo ang lahat ng pwedeng mangyari, talagang wala na tayong magagawa,” replies Gordon.
After Sison’s final question, Sen. Gordon snapped at the journalist. “Can you listen to me please? Kasi parang hindi ka nakikinig eh. Sorry, I had to be very frank. Importante ang mga sinasabi namin na dapat maintindihan ng tao,” says Gordon. He then proceeds to defend the Red Cross’ payment scheme for the OFW’s COVID-19 testing.
“We have to test and there is payment because ’yung China, sinisingil tayo niyan. ’Yung mga testing kit, sinisingil tayo. Tinataas pa nga nila. Magkano isa, $15 to $18. Multiply niyo. Milyun-milyong dolyar na ‘yan.”
In case you need a refresher, around 300,000 OFWs are expected to return to the country this year. As of writing, 465 returning OFWs tested positive for COVID-19 last May 20, while 24,000 OFWs have tested negative. National Task Force on COVID-19 Chief Implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez informed everyone that they’ve only tested 30,000 OFWs so far.
“Sir, this is the reason why we’re actually getting your side, para mas maplantsa,” clarifies Sison, who was again cut off by Gordon, “There is no side! Excuse me, there is no side!” Sison tried to calm down the high strung senator, telling him she’s merely asking his opinion on the matter. He then replied, “No, no! Don’t tell us na meron kayong pagsasabungin kami […] Doon sila magpa-test sa high-speed testing na sinasabi nila. ’Di ko sila pipigilin, wala akong pakialam doon.” The interview ended with him shouting at Sison, “Hindi. Pagod na kami!”
For someone who heads a humanitarian organization, Dick Gordon seems to lack some humanity. With that, I voice out what OFWs, the marginalized classes and frontliners are thinking right now
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