Robredo hits rudderless leadership amid pandemic in unleashing stinging criticism of gov’t
MANILA, Philippines — Filipinos are anxious and struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic because they lack confidence in the government’s leadership — or the lack of it, Vice President Leni Robredo said on Monday.
Robredo explained in a public address that the sentiments of the people, who majority are weary and unsettled, stem from the inability of the government officials to pinpoint a specific goal and direction to when and how COVID-19 problems can be solved.
She claimed that it appeared that the government was satisfied giving citizens a meager aid, and then left them on their own to cope with the health crisis. Ironically, when problems emerge, authorities would pinpoint the public for being hard-headed.
“Hindi mahirap unawain ang sentimyento ng marami: Na para bang walang timon, walang direksyon, walang malinaw na horizon kung kailan at paano masosolusyonan ang pandemya. Na para bang aabutan lang tayo ng kaunting ayuda, tapos bahala ka na, magkulong ka na lang sa bahay at mabuhay nang nangangamba,” Robredo said.
Aside from this, Robredo said the government could not expect support from the government if various corruption scandals would erupt during the pandemic.
“Paano ba naman magkakaroon ng kumpiyansa kung patuloy ang mga alegasyon ng korupsyon—sa mga overpriced na PPE set at ayuda, sa PhilHealth na inaasahan nating magbibigay sa atin ng sense of security sakaling magkasakit tayo. Paanong magkakaroon ng kumpiyansa kung ni hindi natin masiguro kung saan napupunta ang mga pondo?” she asked.
“Na sa atin pa ang sisi kapag may nahawa o namatay—tayo pa ang pasaway. Na parang wala na tayong maaasahan sa mga pinuno — o para ba mismong wala nang namumuno,” she added.
The Vice President also urged the government to understand the public’s views and clamors because these are realities for most people who are finding it hard to live without concrete directions from the government.
“Hindi pagbabatikos ang pagbitbit ng mga sentimyentong ito: This is our reality. Karapatan at tungkulin natin to expect and demand more from our leaders,” Robredo noted.
“Pero nitong nakaraang limang buwan, lalong luminaw ito—na tayo-tayo na rin nga lang ang iintindi sa isa’t isa. Ito mismo ang nagbibigay ng pag-asa sa akin sa mga panahong ganito: Walang dadaig sa Pilipino pagdating sa pag-intindi sa kapwa Pilipino,” she added.
While giving people confidence may seem small, Robredo claimed it will go a long way into managing the pandemic better as people would start investing their efforts if they feel safe and insured for despite working again, despite helping the government.
The lack of confidence has been a recurring theme too, Robredo added, in her talks with various communities and industries. To counter this, Robredo gave out suggestions and recommendations — some of them are old but were not acted upon by the government.
“Sa mga pagpupulong na dinaluhan natin, isang tema ang paulit-ulit na nababanggit: Kumpiyansa. Kumpiyansa ang konseptong nagtatahi sa pandemya at sa mga epektong pang-ekonomiya nito […] Nagdadalawang-isip magbukas ang mga negosyo, dahil wala silang kumpiyansang kikita sila dahil numipis ang mga kliyente, bukod pa sa pangambang mahawa ang mga empleyado nila,” she said.
“May mga naglakas-loob na magbukas, pero bumaba lang din ang kumpiyansa nang makitang halos walang customer ang mga negosyo nila. Halos walang bagong nag-iinvest, nag-eexpand ng operasyon, o gustong magtaya, dahil sa malalim na uncertainty na dala ng pandemya,” she noted.
On social media, Filipinos have been divided among those who support President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration, and those who are strongly against it. While Duterte’s supporters have maintained a steady presence on the internet, several #OustDuterte hashtags recently trended because of the government’s alleged relaxed stance towards the pandemic.
Recent surveys also showed worsening trends about the government’s COVID-19 response. Early August, research firm Social Weather Stations released a myriad of surveys showing that 79 percent of Filipinos believe life worsened since the past 12 months, that more Filipinos are hungry 2014 while stating that the country has been rocked by a 45.5 percent unemployment rate.
Another set of data showed that 60 percent of Filipinos believe that the national government should be the one to lead the programs geared against the pandemic and not local government units.
As of now, the country remains to have the highest COVID-19 cases in the Southeast Asian region, with over 194,000 coronavirus-infected patients, of which 3,010 have died and 132,042 have recovered. [ac]
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