‘Ningas cogon’ caused setback in fight vs COVID-19 – Nancy Binay | Inquirer News
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‘Ningas cogon’ caused setback in fight vs COVID-19 – Nancy Binay

MANILA, Philippines — A year of quarantine restrictions has brought the Philippines back to square one — with new coronavirus cases projected to reach 8,000 a day in Metro Manila by the end of March — because of the government’s “ningas cogon” approach, Sen. Nancy Binay said on Monday.

“Let us not continue this ‘ningas cogon’ — where you only persevere at the start only to lose interest afterward,” the senator said, using a Filipino idiom for unsustained effort.

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Binay criticized the lack of sense of urgency among the country’s COVID-19 managers and the loosening of compliance and enforcement of health and distancing measures.

“No matter how long we impose curfews, or even considering enacting ordinances as an institutional response to abate the surge of COVID-19 cases, all that will not be effective if we continue to display a relaxed atmosphere in the midst of a worsening public health crisis,” she said in a statement.

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Such an attitude is displayed even by the highest-level officials who seem to have forgotten the real and fatal dangers presented by the coronavirus, Binay said.

‘Nothing has changed’

“What’s ironic is that after a year since the lockdown, we’re still here … with no progress. It seems nothing has changed — same problems, same issues, same recommendations (hard lockdown, curfew, liquor ban, etc),” she said.

“How can we expect people to consciously follow health protocols when even our national and local government officials do not conscientiously follow minimum health protocols?” she said.

In a separate statement, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said a sustained vaccination push was necessary to turn the tide.

He urged Malacañang to energize the mass inoculation program during the dry season from April to June “with clear targets in terms of the number of people vaccinated, the number of vaccines that will arrive, and where they will be sent.”

‘Band-aid solutions’

Sen. Risa Hontiveros admonished the COVID-19 task force for continuing to use “silly and ineffective band-aid solutions.”

“We are scrambling to control the pandemic again, but ignore the fact that there are no real systems in place for free mass testing, no unified contact tracing system and therefore no chance to mass isolate,” she said.

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“We cannot let COVID-19 cases spread like wildfire while we put all our hopes on a vaccination program that is being carried out at snail’s pace,” she said.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III also expressed concern about the Philippines’ perilous position.

“Cases are again at an uptick. Our hospitals are again swamped with patients. Our medical heroes are again up on their feet 24 hours, 7 days, and the lines of sick people are still getting longer,” he said.

The Senate leader urged the public to protect themselves and to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate criticized two top public officials who allegedly violated COVID-19 testing rules and later tested positive for the virus.

The Makabayan lawmaker called presidential spokesperson Harry Roque as the “epitome of pasaway (unruly)” while labeling the Philippine National Police chief, Gen. Debold Sinas, as the “epitome of impunity.”

“They blame the people for the increase in COVID-19 cases, and yet they are the ones violating protocols,” he said.

Zarate remarked that in the past few months, Roque has been “visiting different places in the country as if daring the COVID-19 virus to infect him.”

Zarate also scored Sinas for his “impunity” for last year’s “mañanita” controversy, and for not undergoing the required health screening in Mindoro Oriental.

For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.
What you need to know about Coronavirus.
For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

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TAGS: coronavirus pandemic, coronavirus Philippines, COVID-19, Nancy Binay, ningas cogon
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