Drilon believes IATF failed to address COVID-19 pandemic
MANILA, Philippines — Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon believes the government’s coronavirus disease (COVID-19) task force has failed to address the health crisis now affecting the country.
“Yes. We call a spade a spade,” Drilon said in an interview over ABS-CBN News Channel on Wednesday when asked if he thinks that the Inter-Agency Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has failed to respond to the pandemic.
“Look at where we are today. 70,000 cases, increasing every day. The prediction is that by the end of the month it will be over 80,000,” he added.
Further, Drilon said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III has lost his credibility to lead people and influence decisions in the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The health sector in the IATF ( Inter-Agency Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases), let’s call a spade a spade, Secretary Duque today lacks credibility to be able to command people to do things,” he said.
“He cannot influence decisions,” he added.
Drilon was among the 14 senators who signed a resolution last April, seeking for Duque’s “immediate” resignation over his supposed “failure of leadership, negligence, (and) lack of foresight” in addressing the coronavirus pandemic.
“The matter of being in the Cabinet, the matter of being in the IATF is a matter of confidence by the President,” Drilon went on.
“We can shout to the heavens ‘Change Duque’ as the Senate has done, but the confidence of the President, for some reason of his own we do not know, has maintained confidence in Duque,” he added.
On the other hand, Drilon said the government’s economic managers seem to be “somewhere there in the background” of IATF meetings, which he said should not be the case since the pandemic has also greatly impacted the country’s economy.
“I don’t see any of the economic team in the IATF deliberations, maybe they are somewhere there in the background,” he said.
“But given the fact of the effect of the pandemic in our economy, they should be in the forefront together with our health sector because this is our problem today,” he added.
The President should lay out a comprehensive COVID-19 plan on how the government would lead the country in its path to recovery when he delivers his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) next week, the Senate minority leader said.
“This coming SONA is one of the most important State of the Nation Addresses that the people would be witness to. For the first time in our history, we have a pandemic in our midst,” he added.
“This is the situation that confronts us today and therefore I would like to hear the President lay out a comprehensive plan that the people would be looking for and would be guided by including us in the legislature,” he further said.
As of July 21, the Philippines has recorded 70,764 confirmed coronavirus cases including 23,281 recoveries and 1,837 deaths.
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