Robredo says gov’t must end divisiveness: COVID is beyond politics
MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo has called on the national government to stop pushing for divisiveness amid the health crisis, stressing that the COVID-19 outbreaks do not distinguish between politics and party membership.
Robredo said in her report on Tuesday, a day after President Rodrigo Duterte’s final State of the Nation Address (Sona), that every Filipino getting sick means a lot for the whole economy as there would be less able bodies to work for their families.
“Kailangan nang itigil ito. Nasa gitna tayo ng isang krisis. Tayo rin ang nagkakahawahan; tayo rin ang nagdurusa; tayo ang naaantala sa landas ng pag-unlad. Ang totoo: Hindi itinatanong ng pandemya kung sa aling grupo tayo nabibilang, o sa kung aling Partido tayo may membership card,” she said.
(This has to stop. We are in the midst of a crisis. No one else but us that get infected, no one else but us that suffer, no one else but us that get stalled on the road to progress. The truth is that the pandemic doesn’t ask which group we belong to, or which political party appears on our membership cards.)
“Kapag may isang nagkasakit, lahat tayo nalalapit sa panganib. Kapag may nawalan ng trabaho, hindi lang nalalapit sa kahirapan ang pamilya niya; bumababa rin ang produksyon, nababawasan ang perang umiikot sa mga komunidad, tinatamaan ang buong ekonomiya. Ang hamon sa isa ay hamon sa lahat; ang pagpapabaya sa isa ay pagpapabaya sa lahat; at kapag tumulong tayo sa isa, naiibsan natin ang pagdurusa ng lahat,” she explained.
(Whenever someone gets sick, all of us come at risk. When one person loses their job, it doesn’t just inch their family closer to poverty; it also slows production, reduces the resources flowing through our communities, and affects the entire economy. A challenge faced by one is a challenge faced by all; to neglect one means neglecting all; and to help one is to ease suffering for all.)
According to Robredo, she has observed that the government has been hell-bent on blaming other people if problems arise due to the pandemic. On the contrary, she said that it does not listen to recommendations and suggestions from critics and highlights differences instead.
“Kapag may mungkahi, hindi ba dapat makinig muna, que sa agaran itong isantabi bilang pagbatikos at pagkontra? Ang napapansin natin, sa tuwing may problema, para bang ang unang impulse ng iba hanapin kung sino ang sisisihin, sino ang huhulihin, kaninong kritiko susunod na itututok ang mga troll,” Robredo said in a message streamed on her Facebook account.
(When suggestions are being made, shouldn’t we listen first, rather than outrightly dismissing it as fault-finding and antagonism? We’ve come to notice how, whenever problems arise, the first impulse of some is to look for a culprit, to look for a suspect to arrest, or to single out the next critic whom trolls can attack.)
“Tayo ang lakas ng isa’t isa, pero parang tayo palagi ang pinag-aaway — tayo ang hinahati sa tribo, ayon sa kung saang isla o probinsya ka lumaki, kung paano mo inuumang ang kamao mo, kung sino ang sinuportahan mo noong nakaraang halalan,” she added.
(We are one another’s strength, but it seems as if we’re always being pitted against each other –always being split into tribes, according to which island or province we grew up in, which gesture we make with our fists, or who we supported in the last elections.)
Robredo’s statements are her latest tirades on the administration’s supposed mismanagement of the COVID-19 crisis. Even before the pandemic reached Philippine shores, Robredo had been adamant about taking precautionary measures to avoid outbreaks — and eventually, surges — in the country.
The Office of the Vice President (OVP) also became busy in presenting alternative solutions to several problems brought by the pandemic, from providing frontliners with free shuttle services, dormitories, and personal protective equipment during the Luzon-wide lockdown, to helping increase COVID-19 testing, while finding a way to aid students doing online classes.
Later on, OVP’s programs morphed into telemedicine consultations, mobile swab testing and drive-thru vaccination sites.
However, Robredo’s suggestions were either dismissed by the government, or noted by officials as something that had been done already.
At one point last November 2020, during the response for the successive typhoons from October, the President told Robredo to stop competing with him.
As of Monday, the Philippines has tallied 1,555,396 confirmed COVID-19 cases, of which 55,140 or 3.5 percent are active infections. There are 1,473,009 recoveries across the country, while the death toll has ballooned to 27,247.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
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.