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Presidential bets reveal response actions vs COVID-19

/ 06:38 PM February 27, 2022
COVID-19 debate

FILE PHOTO: Persons identified for contact tracing in connection to COVID-19 patients undergo swabbing procedures inside UP-Philippine General Hospital, Manila. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / LYN RILLON

MANILA, Philippines — Presidential candidates on Sunday revealed what they did in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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During the CNN Philippines Presidential Debates at the University of Santo Tomas, Vice President Leni Robredo said her office responded to the pandemic as early as January, when she started talking to health experts on preparations for the possibility of the disease spreading across the country.

“All throughout the pandemic po, we were trying to fill in one gap after another, ang pinaka-una po nito towards the latter part of January sa opisina po namin nag-iimbita kami ng mga medical experts kasi gusto naming maintindihan kung ano ba ang aasahan natin,” Robredo said.

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The Vice President almost ran out of time — candidates were given one minute and 30 seconds to answer questions — in enumerating her COVID-19 programs like the shuttle service and dormitories for frontliners, community learning hubs, financial and livelihood assistance, and eventually COVID-19 testing and vaccination plus telemedicine consultations.

“‘Pag pasok ng March ito na ‘yong nagkakasakit ‘yong ating mga frontliners at kulang ‘yong PPE sets at tayo po ay nag-preposition na po ng PPE sets sa lahat ng ospital hindi lang po dito sa Metro Manila kung hindi sa buong Pilipinas,” she said.

“No’ng kulang na po ‘yong supply ng PPE (personal protective equipment) sets, nagdecide na po tayong maglocal production ng PPE sets, nag-tap po tayo ng mga sewing communities sa maraming lugar,” she explained.

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno meanwhile said he was in London discussing with experts possible programs to control the infection, which he immediately implemented in his jurisdiction.

“Salamat sa ating British government, before magkaroon ng first infection sa Manila, February of that year I was invited to London and be with corona-British response agencies.  And immediately in less than a week I came back with a copy of the plan of British government and immediately implemented it in the city of Manila,” he said.

“Pagbalik ko, talagang nagkaroon ng infection, in fact sa Manila ‘yon, ‘yong isa.  At awa naman ng Diyos na-implement naman natin kaagad ‘yong maabatan ‘yong pwedeng paglagyan ng ating mga posibleng pasyente wherein in Sta. Ana Hospital we created the first infectious disease control center,” he added.

Senator Panfilo Lacson on the other hand recalled the time that he was at the Senate, grilling Department of Health officials because of the slow contact tracing efforts.

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“Nasa Senado po ako at natatandaan ko tinatanong namin ‘yong health officials dahil may Wuhan couple na galing Cebu papuntang Dumaguete, bumalik ng Manila, tinanong namin kailangan may contact tracing, ilan na ang na-contact tracing niyo sa mga co-passenges, ang sagot sa amin 17 percent,” Lacson said.

“Agad-agad nasabi ko malaki ang problema natin,” he added.

Senator Manny Pacquiao relayed that he went out of his way to provide aid to people affected by the pandemic, using money from his own pocket.

“No’ng pagputok po ng lockdown, ng pandemyang ito, tayo po unang lumabas — hindi po tayo nagtago — una po tayong lumabas at namigay ng face masks, face shield, at saka PPEs sa iba’t ibang mga (hospital), lalong-lalo na sa atin mga kapulisan,” he added.

The other candidates present in the debate, like labor leader Leody de Guzman said he was at home, observing President Rodrigo Duterte’s COVID-19 response.  Former Foreign Affairs official Ernesto Abella said he helped repatriate returning Filipinos, while physician Jose Montemayor Jr. said he was treating patients as a cardiologist.

/MUF

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TAGS: #2022candidates, 2022 national elections, CNN Philippines Presidential Debate, Leni Robredo, Mayor Isko Moreno, Philippine news updates, Senator Manny Pacquiao, Senator Panfilo Lacson
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