Abolish IATF, let health experts lead pandemic response – senator
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Imee Marcos on Monday called for the abolition of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases and the appointment of public health experts to lead the country’s fight against COVID-19 through a “true science-based” approach.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III “concurred” with Marcos’ proposal, citing what he said is the “gross incompetence” of the Department of Health (DOH) in handling the pandemic.
“Ibuwag na ‘yung IATF. Start from scratch na lang po tayo, tutal klarong-klaro na walang plano,” Marcos said in an online interview with reporters on Monday.
(Let’s abolish the IATF. Start from scratch since it’s clear that there is no plan.)
“Panahon na na buwagin na ‘yung IATF. Magumpisa na tayo sa totoo na medical na science-based [approach] na talagang makakatulong sa tao,” she added.
(It’s time to abolish the IATF. Let’s begin with the true medical, science-based approach that would really help the public.)
“The handling has been inept and unduly difficult for the Filipino people,” she lamented.
She stressed that doctors and public health experts should be tapped to “straighten out” the government’s policies.
“Dapat mga doctor mga public health experts, ‘yung talagang nakakaintindi nito at sila ang magdi-diretso ng policy,” the senator said.
(Doctors and public health experts should lead, they are the ones who really understand and they can straighten out policies.)
In a separate online interview, Sotto said he backs the suggested IATF abolition.
“I concur with that…. kung ganito lang na hindi lang naha-handle ng matino,” the Senate president said.
He underscored the need to let doctors handle the pandemic response.
“They should have done that on Day 1, especially when we were already complaining that there is gross incompetence in the handling as far as the Department of Health is concerned on that particular issue,” Sotto said.
“Don’t get me wrong, maraming mga DOH na nagtatrabaho at employees na magagaling,” he added.
(Don’t get me wrong, many in the DOH are really working and there are employees who are really competent.)
However, he said the daily cases of COVID-19 in the country should have only been limited to less than 1,000 a year into the pandemic.
“Yung particular na handling ng COVID, palagay ko naligaw. Dapat ‘yan (daily cases), pababa na nang pababa ‘yan eh, Dapat diyan, after a year, nasa less than 1,000 na tayo per day. ‘Yun ang ine-expect ko,” he added.
(The particular handling of COVID, I think it seemed lost. Our daily cases should be decreasing. After a year, our daily cases should only be less than 1,000. That’s what I was expecting.)
On Monday, the Philippines logged an all-time high daily tally of 8,019 additional cases, pushing the country’s total to 671,792. Of this number, 80,970 are active cases.
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