Doctor’s group exec says gov’t response vs COVID-19 on right track
MANILA, Philippines — An official of the Philippine College of Physicians (PCP) has lauded the government’s COVID-19 response for being on the right track, speculating that “hiccups” may have been caused by local government units (LGUs) failing to effectively implement policies.
According to Dr. Maria Encarnita Limpin, an internist at the Philippine Heart Center and PCP vice president, most of them at the PCP have observed that ever since the pandemic started, the Department of Health’s (DOH) response was in the right direction.
Thus, during a briefing on Friday hosted by the DOH, which also featured Secretary Francisco Duque, Limpin called on LGUs and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to help and cooperate with the DOH.
“Actually maski noong umpisa pa lang nakita ho namin na nasa tamang direksyon naman po kayo [DOH], except siguro hindi po nai-implement sa mga local government units, so importante po siguro dito, importanteng manawagan ho tayo,” the PCP vice president said in response to Duque.
(Actually even during the start of the pandemic, we saw that you are already in the right direction, except maybe that policies are not being implemented in various local government units, so maybe it is also important for us to make a call.)
“Nananawagan po kami na importante talaga ‘yong kooperasyon ng bawat isa, at saka ‘yong hindi lang po [DOH] ang kailangan dito na kumilos, kailangan talaga the whole of government. So dito, DILG, mga local government units po, sana po sama-sama tayong magtulungan at sundin po natin ang lahat ng mga programang na nakalagay na dyaan, at institute ng [DOH],” she added.
(We would like to remind that the cooperation of each is important, and that not only the DOH should move, we really need the whole of government to work. So for the DILG, the local government units, we hope that we would help each other and follow the programs in place, and those that would be instituted by DOH.)
She also asked people involved in the initiative to fight COVID-19 to continue helping the DOH, and not to lose strength, as failing to do so may mean more problems.
“Kasi so far nakita ho namin nasa tamang direksyon na ho tayo, at kailangan lang ho tayo na ‘wag bumigay kasi ‘pag bumigay ho tayo, d’yan ho tayo magkakaroon ng problema,” Limpin claimed.
(Because so far we have seen that we are in the right direction, and we just need to sustain efforts and refrain from giving up because if we give up, then we would have a problem.)
The praises heaped by the DOH in its approach to the health crisis has been rare, as many government officials including senators, opposition personalities, healthcare workers, and even some supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration have called on Duque to resign.
Resignation calls came as COVID-19 cases in the Philippines ballooned dramatically, from just a few thousands in April to 122,754 coronavirus-infected patients as of Friday.
Limpin’s remarks about the LGUs possibly failing to implement policies were made despite a lot of the administration’s critics believing that the national government passed the buck to the cities and municipalities.
In a recent July survey, research firm Social Weather Stations (SWS) found out that social aid for families affected by the pandemic came mostly from LGUs, as respondents cited local governments as the top source of assistance.
Other surveys also pinpointed to good performance of several LGUs that helped cushion the impact of the pandemic. The leaders of these LGUs mentioned include the likes of Mayors Isko Moreno (Manila), Marcelino Teodoro (Marikina), Vico Sotto (Pasig), and Rex Gatchalian (Valenzuela).
Recently, netizens also lauded Moreno for implementing a free drive-thru mass testing scheme open even to residents outside of Manila.
The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link .
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.