Hontiveros hits hazy COVID-19 countermeasures: The people have the right to a coherent government
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Risa Hontiveros took a swipe at the government’s “messy” plans and stressed that the public deserves more cohesive guidelines on efforts to address the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) threat in the country.
“Tama na ang pagiging magulo. The people have the right to a coherent government,” Hontiveros said Thursday night in a statement.
As fears hound the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hontiveros stressed the need for government to explain its guidelines on the measures imposed to contain the virus.
“The Filipino people have been expecting a cohesive plan from our leaders. They deserve and need the government to exercise competent leadership in order to shepherd us out of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the government should strive to express clear communication of its policies and guidelines surrounding the containment of this pandemic,” she said.
Hontiveros issued the statement shortly after President Rodrigo Duterte’s public address Thursday night when he approved the imposition of community quarantine in Metro Manila to contain the spread of COVID-19.
In light of this, Hontiveros called on the Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to release guidelines on the community quarantine imposed in the metropolis.
The community quarantine will halt land, domestic air, and domestic sea travel to and from Metro Manila from March 15, 2020 to April 14, 2020.
“There is a lot to clarify. I urge the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to immediately release specific guidelines and parameters of the community quarantine being imposed in Metro Manila, especially its effects on the daily lives of Filipinos and of those who work within the metro but reside elsewhere,” Hontiveros said.
“Our public health and local government authorities must be at the helm of this community quarantine, subject to proper parameters and regular review, in order to guide and assure the worried public,” she added.
Those who live on a daily wage must not be forgotten amid the virus’ threats, Hontiveros said.
She asked the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to extend due assistance to the affected workers.
“I call on the Department of Social Welfare and Development and our local government units to ensure sufficient food supply through local food banks. Dapat may pagkain sa bawat hapag-kainan (There should be food on every table),” Hontiveros said.
“Likewise, I am urging the Department of Labor and Employment to facilitate immediate cash flow to families who will lose their livelihood in the same light due to COVID-19,” she said.
Hontiveros also underscored the need to adequately protect healthcare workers with protective gear and proper compensation.
“I thank our frontline health workers who have been working tirelessly in the name of public health and safety. You are the real heroes and I am thankful for your service to our people,” Hontiveros said.
“In this same line, the protection and welfare of health workers must be prioritized. They must have ample protective gear, compensation, and other forms of support in the conduct of their duties.”
The Philippine government has also upgraded its alert on COVID-19 from Code Red Sublevel 1 to Sublevel 2, which is hoisted when there is evidence of community transmission and prevalence of cases beyond what the government can address.
The World Health Organization (WHO) now consider COVID-19 a pandemic, meaning, a new virus causing sustained outbreaks in multiple regions of the world.
To date, the country has 52 confirmed cases of COVID-19, a respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus that first emerged in Wuhan, China late last year.
The virus causes mild symptoms such as fever and cough for most people but can cause serious illness such as pneumonia for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems.
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