Lies! Robredo camp hits Roque infomercial blunder, admin agenda
MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo’s camp lamented the administration’s use of lies to push their own agenda after a Malacañang official claimed that Robredo wanted to appear in an infomercial to increase vaccine confidence.
Robredo’s spokesperson Barry Gutierrez said on Thursday that it is unfortunate that administration officials don’t bother to dispel myths about COVID-19 vaccines, as presidential spokesman Harry Roque focused more on Robredo’s supposed desire to join the President in an infomercial.
Gutierrez said Senator Joel Villanueva came up with the idea that both Duterte and Robredo would appear in a single infomercial, not the Vice President.
“Based on this statement from last night’s Cabinet briefing, it is sadly clear that this administration will always put politics first, and will even lie to push its own agenda,” Gutierrez said in a statement.
“The idea for a vaccine infomercial came from Senator Joel Villanueva. The Vice President simply expressed her willingness to do it to improve vaccination confidence, which remains alarmingly low,” he added.
During President Duterte’s pre-recorded briefing aired late Wednesday night, Roque told the Chief Executive that Robredo — after criticizing the government’s COVID-19 vaccination program — is now eager to join in an infomercial because the program now appears to be allegedly successful.
“Ang ating mga kritiko hindi po talaga nauubos ang pagpuna. Bago dumating ang bakuna ang tanong nila, nasaan ang bakuna. Nang dumating ang bakuna, bakit Chinese? Nang dumating ang ibang brand, bakit hindi pwedeng makapili, so wala po talagang katapusan ‘yan,” Roque said.
(Our critics never run out of things to point out. Before the vaccines arrived, they were asking where the vials are. When the vaccines arrived, they asked why they were Chinese-made. When other brands arrived, they asked why they cannot choose, so it seems to be unending.)
“Pero I think ngayon po, ngayong napapakita natin na dumadami na’ng nagbabakuna, eh bigla namang nagvolunteer, gusto raw niyang umappear sa infomercial kasama kayo. Sa loob-loob ko, ‘matapos tayo siraan nang siraan, eh ngayong nagiging matagumpay ang ating vaccinations, eh makikisama ngayon,” he added.
(But now I think, now that we have shown that vaccinations are increasing, they would suddenly volunteer, saying that they want to appear in an infomercial with you. But I thought to myself after they kept on criticizing us relentlessly, now that vaccinations are hailed as a success, they would ride the bandwagon.)
The only time the Office of the Vice President (OVP) reacted to these talks was when Gutierrez said that Robredo would be willing to do the infomercial if she was asked to do so.
Despite this latest incident, Gutierrez said that Robredo remains open to the possibility and that she and the whole OVP would continuously work to help Filipinos affected by the COVID-19 pandemic’s negative effects.
“She has always been ready to set aside politics and do what is necessary to help our fellow Filipinos […] Regardless, VP Leni’s position remains the same — she has been working non-stop to help Filipinos overcome the various difficulties brought by COVID-19, and will always be ready to do more to serve our people,” he said.
The Philippines is looking at COVID-19 vaccinations to achieve herd immunity and restore normalcy in the country by the end of the year. While the target remains possible, it appears to be an uphill battle as vaccine confidence among Filipinos remains low.
Last November 2020, Social Weather Stations (SWS) said that only 66 percent of Filipinos have expressed willingness to be vaccinated against COVID-19, should vaccines become available. The number has gone down, with SWS saying in a recent survey that only 32 percent is willing to be vaccinated.
This is consistent with another polling firm’s results: Pulse Asia said last March 26 that 61 percent of Filipinos would say no to COVID-19 vaccines with safety concerns being the top reason.
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