Robredo: Address COVID-19 problems head on, don’t evade it | Inquirer News

Robredo: Address COVID-19 problems head on, don’t evade it

/ 05:56 PM August 13, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo believes that the strategy to beat the COVID-19 pandemic is to address issues head on, and not merely evade problems that the health crisis may produce.

Speaking in an online forum hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Robredo said that facing issues squarely — like admitting that there were a lot of shortcomings in the government’s COVID-19 response, and using scientific tools and data — would be of great help in assessing and eventually solving the problems.

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“If we want to turn things around, the first step is facing up to these facts. We have to acknowledge where we have come short; find out what we’re doing wrong, look at what others have done right, and learn from them. This is what it entails for the nation to get its act together,” the Vice President said in her speech, released by the Office of the Vice President on Thursday.

“We must face COVID-19 head-on—with courage, and with a relentless and unyielding respect for the truth, however painful it may be. From thereon, dialogue must be intensified between the public and private sectors, aiming for a sound and reasonable consensus: A single direction, a single horizon, with everyone moving in lockstep with each other,” she added.

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Robredo also called for an efficient leadership throughout the pandemic by crafting solutions and not merely listening or observing sides bickering due to preferences in handling the crisis.

“Leaders do not merely sit at the head of the table, listen to everyone argue, then choose which argument wins,” she stressed.  “Leaders craft the best, most efficient pathway towards a solution—and this almost always involves considering how each step, each workstream, each component affects the other.”

“We connect the dots. We find the constellations amidst the individual pockets of light,” she added.

Robredo, seen as the figurehead of the opposition, has been very vocal about her opinion on the government’s COVID-19 response — often pointing out government’s missteps.  It started in January, when she called for a China-wide travel ban to avoid local coronavirus transmissions.

As of now, the Philippines has the most number of COVID-19 cases in the Southeast Asian region, with 147,526 cases, of which 2,426 have died while 70,387 have recovered.

She has been criticized by administration officials who insist that they are already working on what Robredo is talking about. This include Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, who said Robredo’s suggestions are welcome but most of which are no longer new.

Robredo’s side countered, saying that some of the issues pointed out were not yet implemented during that time.

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Roque also previously slammed Robredo for allegedly looking at the government’s efforts as a glass “half-empty,” but Robredo said her office and its partner-agencies’ work has been filling up the half-empty response.

Just last Wednesday, it was revealed that Robredo wrote to Education Secretary Leonor Briones to seek clarification on guidelines and directives about distance learning and modular systems which had teachers and parents confused.

Since the government implemented lockdowns to curb the COVID-19 transmissions, President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration has been receiving flak for not prioritizing social aid for affected households, the lack of mass testing, and for supposedly relying on the production of vaccines as a game plan.

The administration was also criticized for allegeldy prioritizing instead the passage of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 and the shutdown of media giant ABS-CBN — things Robredo mentioned in her speech.

“Health is the front-end domino; address it, and the rest of our challenges become less daunting. The relationship between healthcare and economic resilience is not one of conflict; it is one of causality,” Robredo said.

“Our task, therefore, is to pull together with the rest of society—with our communities, our leaders, our medical frontliners, our businesses, and every Filipino—and focus all our energies in defeating the disease first,” she added.

JPV

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TAGS: 2019 Novel Coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, COVID-19, COVID-19 pandemic, COVID-19 response, Leni Robredo, lockdown, MECQ, modified enhanced community quarantine, nCoV update, Office of the Vice President, OVP, Philippine news updates, Rodrigo Duterte
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