Robredo: Gov’t should set targets amid ECQ extension, COVID-19 plan too ‘general’
MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo has advised the national government to set actual targets to gauge how the country’s COVID-19 response is faring, amid a one-week extension of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) over Metro Manila and nearby areas.
Robredo lamented during her Sunday radio program that the COVID-19 response plan tends to be too general — or focused on larger concepts like tracing, early detection, treatment.
What the government should do, she said, is to place objectives or scorecards which would set a goal that the country needs to achieve. As an example, Robredo said that when officials announce that tests would be increased, it should be always be quantified by how much tests would increase.
“Ang suggestion ko, para may objective, iyong sinasabi natin na may scorecard sana. Dapat lahat na ginagawa natin mayroong timeline, mayroong scorecard. Halimbawa, kung magdadagdag tayo ng one week (lockdown), ano iyong gusto nating ma-achieve sa April 11 kasi matatapos na iyong April 11, ‘di ba?” Robredo noted.
(My suggestion, in order to have an objective, is to have a scorecard. Everything they plan to do should have a timeline and a scorecard. For example, if they add one more week of lockdown, what do they want to achieve by April 11?)
“Halimbawa, kapag sinabi mong detect, ilan ba iyong idadagdag mo sa testing, ‘di ba? Kasi halimbawa kahapon, 24% iyong positivity rate, 12,000 plus iyong nagpositive. Pero kapag tiningnan mo, Ka Ely, iyong tests, 33,000 lang iyong ginawa,” she added, referring to her co-host Ely Saludar.
(For example, when they say detect, how many tests will they do? Because yesterday, it was 20% was positive, more than 12,000 tested positive. But if you look at this, they only tested 33,000.)
The Vice President also stressed that the number of tests being done recently — around the 28,000 to over 30,000 mark — is not sufficient because it is the same amount of COVID-19 tests that were being done when the country is just seeing around 1,000 to 2,000 cases.
Since the later part of March, the country has already broken the 10,000 mark in terms of daily COVID-19 case increase four times: 10,016 last March 29, 15,310 last Friday, 12,576 on Saturday, and 11,028 on Sunday.
In the COVID-19 bulletin earlier, the Department of Health said that they were able to do 26,624 tests on Saturday, for a staggering 22.7 percent positivity rate.
“Ang point ko lang, noong last year na ang cases natin—ilan pa ba—iyong March, April, ilan pa ba iyong cases natin, 1,000, 2,000, ang goal na natin 30,000, eh. Pero bakit hanggang ngayon nandoon pa rin tayo na sobrang dami nang nagpa-positive?” Robredo asked.
(My point is, when we had positive cases that were 1,000 to 2,000, the goal for the number of tests were at 30,000. But why are we still at that number when there are so many testing positive?)
“So ako, ang suggestion ko lang, para mayroon tayong hinahabol na target, sana tignan natin—kami, every day, mayroon kaming ginagawang sukat noong ilan ba iyong cases per 100,000 population. Bakit siya mahalaga? Mahalaga siya na per capita iyong tinitingnan natin kasi dapat iyon iyong basis ng pagbigay ng tulong sa mga LGUs,” she added.
(So for me, my suggestion is, if we are going after a target, we need to look into it — every day, we are always keeping count how many cases there are per 100,000 population. Why is this important? It is important that we look per capita because that is the basis of our giving aid to LGUs.)
Ever since the pandemic started, Robredo has given several pitches on how the government can improve its COVID-19 response, while providing assistance to hospitals and frontliners through their private sector partners.
However, her suggestions have also landed her in hot waters, being ridiculed online for supposedly nitpicking and not understanding the plans that the government has presented.
Robredo admitted that she has seen critics being bashed online by administration supporters claiming that there is a plan against the pandemic. However, she insisted that these plans are too general, and does not provide any target which may be used to gauge and compare the government’s actual performance.
“Kaya may mga nakikita tayo sa social media na naghahanap kung ano iyong plano. Nagagalit iyong ibang supporters ng administrasyon na ‘bakit tinatanong mo na ano iyong plano? Nandito na iyong plano.’ Pero iyong plano kasi masyadong general […] Kapag sinabi mong PDITR iyong plano, anong kaibahan nito noong nakaraan na one year na nating ginagawa,” she explained.
(That is why we see on social media people who are looking for the plan. Then some supporters of the administration are getting angry and asking “Why are you are looking for the plan when it’s already here?” But the plan is to general… When you say PDITR is the plan, how different is that from last year?)
PDITR is an acronym for the government’s plan to prevent, detect, isolate, treat, and reintegrate COVID-19 patients.
“Sana hindi very general. Halimbawa, kapag sinabi mong detect, ilan iyong ite-test mo, ‘di ba? Ilan iyong ite-test mo, ano iyong gagawin mo para maincentivize iyong tao magtest tapos ang pangalawa, enough ba iyong isolation centers, ‘di ba. Ilan ba iyong isolation centers kasi sinabi mo mag-isolate, saan mag-a-isolate?” she said.
(I hope it’s not very general. For example, when you say detect, how many are you going to test, right? How many people will be tested, what will you do to incentivize people to get tested? Second, are the isolation centers enough? How many isolation centers are left? Because when you say isolate, where will they isolate?)
On Saturday, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque announced that the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) recommended the extension of the ECQ bubble status over Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal by one week. It was subsequently approved by President Rodrigo Duterte.
The country is battling a surge of COVID-19 cases, attributed by health experts to the spread of more infectious variants of concern. As of Sunday, the country has over 135,526 active cases, majority of which are found inside the bubble.
The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link .
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.