Gov't reimposing same COVID-19 response rules and expecting different results - Drilon | Inquirer News
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Gov’t reimposing same COVID-19 response rules and expecting different results – Drilon

/ 10:34 AM March 30, 2021

Improvised barriers are set up on a street of a village under lockdown amid rising coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections, in Manila, Philippines, March 12, 2021. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez

MANILA, Philippines — The government is reimposing the same rules in its pandemic response but expects a different result each time, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon lamented on Tuesday as he criticized the imposition anew of lockdowns in the country in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19.

“We are doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. We keep on doing prolonged lockdowns over and over again and hope that it will have a different result,” Drilon said in an interview on ABS-CBN News Channel.

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Over the weekend, Malacañang announced that  Metro Manila and four adjacent provinces — Rizal, Bulacan, Cavite, and Laguna — will be under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) anew from March 29 to April 4 due to the surge in COVID-19 cases in the country.

It was in March last year that the government first placed Metro Manila and other areas under ECQ, the tightest quarantine classification enforced by the government.

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Drilon, however, stressed that such restrictions should be coupled with intensive testing, tracing, treatment and teaching, or what he called the “4Ts.”

“We are failing in the four areas,” he said.

‘Gross inadequacy’ in testing

According to Drilon, the Philippines is lagging behind other countries in terms of testing capacity.

“From the World Bank findings, we are testing, we are conducting 17 tests for every COVID case…In Vietnam, they are testing 4,200 per COVID [case], in Laos, over 2,000 testing, in China, 1,853,” he said.

“So you could imagine the disparity…You can see the gross inadequacy and because we are grossly inadequate, we cannot track because we do not do enough testing,” he added.

He said adequate testing is “critical” to an effective contact tracing.

( INQUIRER file photo / EV ESPIRITU)

“This is critical, we do mass testing so that we can go to the next step. Tracking. When we see people infected, then we can track. When we see people affected, we can track. Again, we failed here,” Drilon said.

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“There is no tracking system in place and that was also what the HPAC (Healthcare Professionals Alliance Against Covid-19) said, there is simply no tracking. And then, treatment, the vaccines are insufficient,” he added.

Further, the minority leader said that in terms of “teaching” the public to follow health protocols, government officials should set a good example themselves.

“The people’s behavior would be influenced by the credibility of the policies and the announcements. Here, you have announcements which are changed on a regular basis,” he said.

“When you have mañanitas or birthdays, when you go to gatherings to inaugurate an infrastructure in a crowd without observing social distancing, when people see this, you lose your credibility when you say [the public should practice] social distancing,” he added.

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TAGS: COVID-19, ECQ, lockdowns, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon
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