Poe says gov’t flip-flopping on lockdown status is counterproductive
MANILA, Philippines—Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III conceded on Thursday that making abrupt changes in government’s pronouncements regarding quarantine status “does not contribute to the confidence in decision-making.”
Dominguez is part of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) that ordered the recall of its earlier decision to pilot-test the granular lockdowns in Metro Manila starting September 8. The IATF instead retained the modified enhanced community quarantine status until September 15.
This issue confronted the finance chief when he and other members of the government’s economic team defended the proposed 2022 national budget before the Senate finance committee.
Dominguez explained that the retraction was because “some members of the IATF felt that not all the rules were in place for the easing of the opening of the economy.”
“They just wanted to make sure that all the rules were in place. They asked for I think four or five days to come up with that,” he said, responding to Senator Grace Poe’s queries.
“But they swiftly came up with the decision even if the trajectory was on the upswing at the time and then two days or a day later they changed their minds,” Poe countered.
“I understand that certain protocols have to be in place but I don’t think these protocols will change that drastically within those two days…” the senator, citing its impact on businesses.
“It’s actually an issue of trust also on government when they make some tentative decisions like this. And I’m sure it also frustrates you, Secretary Sonny because your concern is basically the economy and what they are doing is counter-productive,” Poe further said.
Dominguez recognized the senator’s sentiments, admitting that making abrupt announcements “is not ideal.”
“We understand the concerns you raised…and definitely it’s not ideal to have basically changes in announcements very, very abruptly. As you say it does not contribute to the confidence in decision making. We accept that,” the finance chief said.
Poe quipped, “Siguro dapat Sec. Sonny pagalitan niyo rin sila. I’m sure makikinig yan sayo.”
(Maybe you should scold them also, Sec. Sonny. I’m sure they will listen to you.)
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