Lawmaker to public: Help, count blessings than slam gov’t since not all hit by virus
MANILA, Philippines — Filipinos bent on criticizing the government for its alleged faulty COVID-19 response should instead help efforts to curb the health crisis and be grateful that they have not contracted the disease.
According to Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Elizaldy Co, President Rodrigo Duterte and his Cabinet deserve praise and not ridicule because they are doing everything they can to ensure the country can procure vaccines so that Filipinos would be protected from the latest coronavirus strain.
Opposition and activist groups have recently called out Duterte for not providing a concrete COVID-19 recovery roadmap during his State of the Nation Address (SONA), and instead relying on the production of a vaccine from China.
“Whether the source is China, India, or some other country, we should be happy that our President is doing everything to secure supply of COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available. That’s our real hope for recovery,” Co said in a statement on Wednesday.
“While there are over 100,000 Filipinos with COVID-19, more than 100 million don’t have the disease to date. Therefore, the best way forward is to treat the afflicted and protect healthy citizens from contracting it. This is where we urgently need unity of purpose and action,” he added.
After Duterte’s SONA on July 27, the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan said his speech revealed that the plan all along was to wait for the China-developed vaccine even if it is not yet sure that a vaccine will come in time.
Vice President Leni Robredo, meanwhile, has earlier reminded the government that merely waiting for a vaccine, which may come earliest by December, would not solve the numerous problems caused by the health crisis.
As of Wednesday, the country has 115,980 confirmed COVID-19 cases — 2,123 of which have died while 66,270 have recovered.
As early as April, back when Luzon and other areas were still under an enhanced community quarantine, Duterte said the country may be prioritized by China in the distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine. This gesture, he said, is Beijing’s way of thanking Manila for helping fight the stigma against Chinese.
Then on June 13, Chinese President Xi Jinping assured Duterte that the Philippines will be prioritized in their vaccine dissemination. He also praised Duterte for his stand on the West Philippine Sea issue.
Co then said administration critics should pray for Duterte and the frontliners instead because they are facing a huge task of beating the pandemic.
“At no other point in our recent history do we need to stand together to fight a common, yet invisible enemy. Let’s heed and help our medical experts and frontliners by staying home, wearing protective gear, and frequent handwashing. Most of all, we should fervently pray for national healing,” Co stressed.
“Let us also pray for our leaders, especially President Rodrigo Duterte, his Cabinet and members of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases. They, too, need help and guidance in facing a pandemic no one has prepared for,” he added.
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