DOH denies citing 59 evacuees from Marawi died of various illnesses

MANILA — Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial on Friday denied that there were a total of 59 deaths recorded in the evacuation centers in Iligan City, where resident-evacuees from Marawi City had been staying since the Marawi crisis took place.

In an interview with this reporter, DOH Secretary Paulyn Ubial said the information that came out in some media reports, which cited such number of deaths, were totally wrong and she had never said them.

She said she had reviewed the video and clearly showed she said that there were no deaths in evacuation centers,” said Ubial.

The video that Ubial was referring to was the press briefing during the event of ASEAN Dengue Day held in Legazpi City in Bicol on June 15 (Thursday)..

She admitted that what she mentioned there were actually deaths outside the evacuation centers or in the hospitals where some of the evacuees were referred to for further treatment which then totaled to only 19.

She insisted that such deaths can be attributed to pre-existing conditions suffered by some patients such as cancer, undergoing dialysis treatment.

She added that aside from the said 19 deaths, she mentioned that there were four other cases of deaths that they were still checking to establish the cause of death.

In mentioning that, she said that she even raised her hand as gesture to indicate that number.

“Itinaas ko po ang kamay ko saying may apat na allegedly namatay (I raised my hand saying there were four who allegedly died (due to still unverified reasons),” the Health Chief said.

She said she was willing to show the video of the entire press conference to further prove that she had not mentioned 59 deaths. LSJ/