Robredo insists COVID-19 mishaps could have been prevented
MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo has again scored the government for its “very delayed” response to the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that problems could have been prevented if the health crisis was treated with a sense of urgency.
Robredo was asked during an interview with Teleradyo Cebu on how she can describe the government’s response to the pandemic, not only in Cebu which has registered a growing number of cases but also for the whole country as well.
According to her, the government could have acted quickly when the country recorded its first COVID-19 cases, but instead showed complacency by hesitating to ban all inbound flights from China, where the latest coronavirus strain originated.
“Sobrang delayed iyong response natin. Sobrang delayed in the sense na dapat sana noong nagkaroon pa lang ng first case […] naging urgent para sa atin lahat. Pero nag-waver kasi tayo,” she said.
“Iyong first case natin last week of January pa. At tiningnan natin […] halimbawa iyong New Zealand, iyong Vietnam, iyong Taiwan, noong nagkaroon pa lang —wala pa nga silang case; guma-grabe pa lang iyong sitwasyon sa China, marami na silang ginawa. Pero parang sa atin, nagkarooon na nga tayo ng first two cases, parang naging complacent pa rin tayo. Hindi urgent,” she added.
After the country registered its first coronavirus patient — a Chinese female who traveled from Wuhan in China, the origin of the disease — Robredo suggested that flights may be suspended as a precautionary measure.
A flight ban ensued but there were questions on whether it was implemented seriously, as some Chinese nationals were still able to enter the country through its legal ports.
Since then, the country has 47,873 confirmed COVID-19 cases, one of the highest infection rates in the Southeast Asian region. The Philippines also has the highest number of active cases among countries in the Asean.
Robredo said that she hopes officials solve the pandemic’s ill effects, noting how they have tapped the private sector to contribute to the government’s existing programs.
The Vice President, widely seen as the leader of the opposition, has been very vocal about points that the government could improve on in terms of its COVID-19 response. However, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that she has been looking at the administration’s effort as “half-empty” — allegedly focusing on small lapses to score political points.
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