COVID-19 cases and deaths are not mere statistics, says Robredo
MANILA, Philippines — The deaths caused by the coronavirus should not be treated as mere statistics as these individuals have dreams and have family and friends grieving for them, Vice President Leni Robredo said Wednesday.
Robredo said in her report, in which she also suggested measures to fine-tune the government’s COVID-19 response, that a continuous increase in the number of infections and deaths means that more and more people have to bear hardships brought by the weakened economy.
She reminded the government that the pandemic is the root cause of all these problems, and if solved quickly and not merely regarded as data, then the country can overcome other challenges.
“Pandemya ang ugat ng mga suliranin; kapag mabisa itong matugunan, matutugunan din ang iba pang hamon. Conversely: Habang dumadami ang nagkaka-COVID 19, lalo rin nating pinapatagal ang paghihirap ng Pilipino. Marami ang namamatay, at hindi sila statistics lang,” Robredo said in her message.
“Bawat isa sa kanila, may kuwento, may pangarap; may pamilya sila, may nagluluksa para sa kanila. At habang dumadami sila, lalo lang tayong mahihirapang umusad tungo sa isang better normal—dadami ang mga dadanas ng kahirapan, dadami ang hindi makakaambag sa nation-building, tatagal ang biyahe patungo sa katuparan ng mga pangarap natin,” she added.
According to Robredo, the government must prepare for a worst-case scenario by ensuring there are safety nets for families vulnerable to the further weakening of the economy while crafting and implementing laws that would ensure enough funding for various programs like work-for-pay projects.
She also raised the possibility of providing tax incentives to companies and corporations willing to assist and provide financial aid for its workers.
“Gumawa na ng buffer stock ng lahat ng mga materyales na kailangan ng bawat pamilya sa panahon ng pandemya: Bitamina, sabon, alcohol, face masks, at iba pa. Siguruhing hindi maaantala ang supply chain,” Robredo noted.
“Tutukan ang mga local producers: Suportahan sila ng teknolohiya para mas marami pa silang magawa, at mas maraming makabili na gawang lokal,” she added.
Aside from these suggestions, she also gave pointers on how to counter problems in the provision of social aid, like by clearing up the list and to sharpen points used to measure if a family is living in poverty or not.
Robredo’s message came two days after President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address — which has been the target of criticisms as it allegedly failed to present a concrete roadmap for the government’s COVID-19 response.
It was also done after presidential spokesperson Harry Roque drew flak for allegedly disregarding the cases and the deaths as mere statistics, as he noted that the number of deaths in the country should not be a cause of alarm because it makes up just around two percent of the total COVID-19 cases.
Robredo further said in her message that for the government to just wait for the possible coronavirus vaccine — which has no clear timetable as to when it could be produced — is not an exertion to put an end to the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.
Rather, she proposed that authorities use a data-driven approach to determine which areas need more attention and whether residents of the affected localities should be subjected to mass testing.
On July 29, the health agency reported that COVID-19 cases in the Philippines reached 85,486 with 26,996 recoveries and 1,962 deaths.
This surpassed the prediction of the University of the Philippines experts that the country’s coronavirus caseload may hit 85,000 by the end of July.
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