Blame Duterte, not Duque, for ‘gross negligence’ in COVID-19 response | Inquirer News

Blame Duterte, not Duque, for ‘gross negligence’ in COVID-19 response

By: - Reporter / @KHallareINQ
/ 03:50 PM April 18, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — It is not Health Secretary Francisco Duque III but President Rodrigo Duterte who should be blamed for the “failure of leadership” in the country’s fight against the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, Senator Leila De Lima said Saturday.

“I agree with my Senate colleagues. ‘Knowing fully well the danger posed by the COVID-19 pandemic at the beginning of the year,’ this administration’s Health Secretary has ‘failed to put in place the necessary precautionary measures to lessen, if not at all prevent, the impact of this health crisis,’” De Lima said.


“However, the primary responsibility for the failure of leadership and gross neglect of duties in our COVID-19 campaign rests not on Sec. Duque but on Mr. Duterte,” she added.

But after Duque rejected calls for his resignation, senators said they will summon him in an inquiry to explain his side on the matter.


According to De Lima,  if not Duterte’s “pro-China principal’s blessing” Duque could not have rejected the banning of flights to and from China.

“The dismal and catch-up government response to and preparation for the COVID-19 crisis can only be attributable to the Office of the President,” she pointed out. “It is not only the DOH [Department of Health] who is responsible for our efforts against COVID-19, [but it is also] the whole government.”

“The Department of Foreign Affairs should have insisted on an early travel ban. The Department of Social Welfare and Development should have updated the list of vulnerable households in need of assistance. The Department of Transportation should have prepared transportation protocols that allow social or physical distancing and transportation support for essential personnel. The Department of Interior and Local Government should have studied possible isolation centers per LGU. The Department of Agriculture should have increased our buffer stock once the effect of COVID-19 in Asia became apparent, as well as mapped the distribution lines to ensure the continuous supply of food. These departments do not answer to Sec. Duque. They report to Mr. Duterte,” De Lima pointed out.

The detained senator further noted that Duterte’s late-night public speeches “have not been inspiring confidence” on the government’s COVID-19 response.

“Instead of understanding the current measures implemented by the government, our country has been witness to the continuous ramblings of an old man barely in touch with reality, and hardly aware of what’s required of the situation,” she said.

The senator also took a swipe at returning presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, who on Thursday blamed Filipinos for having the most number of COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia.

“Now, the new spokesperson has the gall to blame the pandemic on our citizens. They should look at themselves,” De Lima said.


“Sa pamamahalang walang giya, nawawalan ng gana ang bansa. Sa pamumunong palpak, lahat tayo ay babagsak. Managot ang dapat managot,” she also said.

(With a government that has no guidance, the country is losing hope. In a governance that slacks,  we are going down. Those in position should be punished.)


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