‘Basahin para ‘di mukhang inutil’: Roque told to read VP’s suggestions for COVID-19 response
MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo’s spokesperson has urged his counterpart in Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque to read the COVID-19 response suggestions they sent so that he can get a clearer picture of what they are trying to say.
In a statement on Tuesday, Robredo’s spokesman Barry Gutierrez said that the recommendations Roque was looking for have been forwarded to the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), urging him to read the documents so that he would not appear clueless on what the Vice President has been saying.
This came after Roque urged Robredo to inform them of a possible solution to the pandemic that she might have known — aside from the vaccine — after the latter’s insistence that President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration is not doing enough to manage the health crisis.
“Tuwing may malaking problema, ang sagot na lang nila sa ating lahat, ‘Walang solusyon’,” Gutierrez said.
(When there is a big problem, their answer for all of us is ‘there is no solution’.)
“Subukan kaya niyong basahin din minsan ang mga rekomendasyon ng mga doktor at ibang eksperto — ilang beses na ring ipinaabot ni VP Leni sa IATF yung marami dito — para hindi naman kayong nagmumukhang inutil lagi,” he added.
(Why don’t you try reading the recommendations of doctors and other experts, many of which have been sent by VP Leni to the IATF, so that you would not always appear senseless and useless.)
The latest clash of words between Roque and Gutierrez came after their bosses — Duterte and Robredo — traded barbs over the pandemic response. During his late-night pre-recorded address, Duterte warned the public against listening to Robredo, who is supposedly spewing nonsense and is only interested in criticizing the government.
In his frustration, Duterte sarcastically dared Robredo to come with him and spray pesticides all over the country or Metro Manila to kill the virus. In contrast, he explained that they have done everything they can, as they placed hospitals, beds, and funeral parlors that can be used to service COVID-19 patients and fatalities.
But for Robredo, spraying pesticides would not solve the pandemic. Instead, she gave four pointers that encompass some of the things she has been telling the government.
Gutierrez echoed Robredo’s sentiments, noting that the government cannot simply tell poor and suffering Filipinos that they cannot do anything about it.
“Nagkakasakit at nawawalan ng trabaho ang libu-libong Pilipino. Hindi naman tama na ang sagot lang sa kanila ng ating gobyerno ay ‘Sorry, pero wala kaming magagawa,’” he said.
(A lot of Filipinos are getting sick and losing their jobs. The government cannot just tell them that ‘sorry, we cannot do anything about it.’)
These exchanges between the administration and the opposition is the latest during the pandemic. The government has been largely criticized for prioritizing other things, from the Anti-Terrorism Act, the ABS-CBN shutdown, ties with China, to the Manila Bay rehabilitation over more pressing issues like mass testing, contact tracing, and securing jobs for unemployed Filipinos.
Recently, Robredo also mentioned that the government seemed to have no leader, that it does not appear to be in control of the situation. During her Sunday radio program, Robredo again noted that the government has issued flip-flopping statements, contradicting each other — another evidence of a lack in leadership.
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