Robredo hits gov’t’s ‘lack of sense of urgency’ in responding to pandemic
MANILA, Philippines — The gaps in the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic stemmed from its lack of sense of urgency, Vice President Leni Robredo said Thursday.
Robredo recalled the government’s dilly-dallying in cancelling flights from China after the country recorded its first cases at the end of January this year.
“My sense is that we did not act urgently kaya nararamdaman natin ngayon yung mga gaps. Kasi naging complacent tayo at the very start,” Robredo said in an interview over ANC.
(My sense is that we did not act urgently, that’s why we feel the gaps now. We were complacent at the very start.)
“If you remember, our first cases started end of January. And we were still not determined at the time on what steps to take. Kung naaalala natin, we had been pushing for cancellation of flights already from China. Medyo nag dilly dally pa tayo doon e,” she went on.
(If you remember, our first cases started end of January. And we were still not determined at the time on what steps to take. If you remember, we had been pushing for cancellation of flights already from China. But we dilly dallied at the time.)
The Philippines confirmed its first COVID-19 cases on January 30, a 38-year-old Chinese woman.
It was on February 2 when President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the temporary travel ban on visitors from mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.
“When we finally decided to cancel flights, we were not very strict on its implementation,” Robredo lamented.
Procurement of PPEs slow
Robredo also thought the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPEs) was slow.
“Pagkatapos nun, nung finally nag-ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) na tayo, parang walang sense of urgency in providing PPEs for our frontliners (When we entered ECQ, there seemed to have no sense of urgency in providing PPEs for our frontliners),” she said.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, however, said the Philippines was not late in placing orders for PPEs, only that other countries with more COVID-19 cases at the time just acted sooner.
“Yung late, saka early, relative yun. Pag naunahan tayo, late pa rin tayo (Late and early are relative. If wewere outran, then we’re late),” Robredo said.
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