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Manny Piñol schools ‘reckless’ Maria Ressa: SPMC not just a Davao hospital but a salvation center in Mindanao

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Rappler head Maria Ressa just got served.

Mindanao Development Authority (MinDa) chairman Emmanuel Piñol has blasted Ressa for her alleged malicious and reckless post about the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC).

Ressa recently tweeted “Seriously? A Davao hospital receives more than PGH? #CourageOne #HoldTheLine.” She commented on a Rappler tweet about the 10 top hospitals that received funds through the Interim Reimbursement Mechanism of PhilHealth.

Piñol did not mince words with Ressa in his latest Facebook post, accusing the journalist of failing to double check her data. He said Ressa’ post allegedly reeked with malice that offended many people including the health frontliners in SPMC.

“I could not believe that a seasoned journalist could be so reckless in comparing SPMC with the PGH. In her eagerness to put the administration in a bad light, she abandoned a basic tenet in journalism – check, double-check, and if needed, triple-check,” Piñol said.

The former agriculture secretary informed Ressa that SPMC is the country’s biggest government hospital.

The hospital serves Mindanao with a population of 25.5-million while PGH is among the hundreds of major hospitals in Metro Manila with 12 million population.

Piñol also described SPMC as a “salvation center” for Mindanaoans who need medical assistance.

“To the people of Mindanao, SPMC is not just ‘a Davao hospital’ but a ‘salvation center’ where all of the most serious medical cases are referred to – from cancer, to injuries from accidents, wounds from gunshot and bombings and, yes, COVID 19,” he said.

“It is a symbol of hope and salvation for people in distress but, of course, those who are not from Mindanao will never understand that,” he added.

Piñol said Ressa’s reference to SPMC as a Davao hospital showed that Mindanao has an image problem. The MinDa head vowed to continue the information drive to project a positive image of the region.

“While Ressa’s post about SPMC which reeks with malice offended many, especially health workers connected with SPMC, I would rather take it as a challenge to work on a stronger information campaign to provide an accurate picture of Mindanao,” he said.

He said MinDa has spearheaded the “Beauty & Bounty of Mindanao” social media campaign to dispel any misconception and highlight the positive developments in the region.

“We really have to work harder in educating people, including Maria Ressa, so that they will know that Mindanao is actually a better place to live in,” he said.

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