VP slams gov’t on pandemic response
Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday said the government has failed to act urgently at the onset of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, forcing it now to play catchup as virus-positive cases continue to rise.
“We are now experiencing the gaps because we have been complacent from the very start,” she said in an television interview.
Robredo said the government chose to “dilly-dally” even as she had pushed for the cancellation of flights from China when the first few cases were detected towards the end of January. The virus was believed to have originated from a live animal market in Wuhan in central China.
When the enhanced community quarantine was finally imposed, Robredo said there was “no sense of urgency” in providing personal protective equipment (PPE) to the country’s front-liners and response had been “very slow.”
Despite criticisms lobbed at Health Secretary Francisco Duque III for his alleged mishandling of the health crisis, Robredo said it would be difficult to change the people at the helm in the midst of the crisis.
“I think what needs to be changed is the actions and policies that need to be improved,” she said.
Amid talks of granting emergency powers anew to President Duterte following the expiration of the special powers enshrined in the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act, Robredo said a comprehensive and detailed report on the actions taken in the last few months should first be given. and should include the country’s targets in curbing the disease, as well as how the special funds given to the national government was spent to stem the pandemic.
Responding to Robredo’s comments, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the Vice President should “just ask what she needs to know and we will respond.”
“I think we took the right steps, although we strive to do better,” Roque said. WITH A REPORT FROM JULIE M. AURELIO
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