By Raymund Antonio
Vice President Leni Robredo on Tuesday addressed the government measures being taken to contain coronavirus disease (COVID-19), saying the protection of vulnerable sectors in the country should be prioritized.
“Umaasa tayo na sa mga susunod na araw ay papandayin ng mga ahensya ang iba pang polisiya para sa social safety nets base sa iba’t ibang rekomendasyon, kabilang na ang galing sa ating tanggapan,” she said.
(We hope in the coming days the government agencies will hammer out the other policies for social safety nets based on various recommendations, including those coming from my office.)
Robredo was referring to the immediate disbursement of government subsidies such as the social pension for indigent senior ciitizens and unconditional cash transfer under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps.
She said cash assistance should be given to workers, especially the low-wage earners who may be hit hard by the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine.
The vice president made the call to her fellow government officials in a videotaped public address aired on her official Facebook page. She also gave an update on the efforts of her office to help frontline health workers amid the country’s fight against COVID-19.
Robredo asked for the conduct of COVID-19 testing in high-density areas, setting up isolation units to separate people who show symptoms of the disease, and providing health workers with adequate personal protective equipment.
“Uulitin ko rin: Protect the vulnerable, and we protect the whole. Kailangang mamulat ang lahat sa katotohanan na maaampat lang ang pagkalat ng sakit na ito kung aarugain ang lahat,” she said.
(May I reiterate: Protect the vulnerable, and we protect the whole. Everyone should realize the truth that the spread of this disease can be prevented if we take care of everyone.)
Robredo encouraged everyone to do their part in the observance of strict social distancing to stem the virus outbreak.
“Hindi lang gobyerno ang kasali dito; kailangan ng isang whole-of-society approach na tutuparin ng lahat (The government is not only part of this: A whole-of-society approach is needed to be followed by all),” she said.
The opposition leader said the administration should present clear alternatives for the transport sector after the suspension of mass transportation in Luzon due to the enhanced community quarantine.
“Paano po makakarating sa mga dapat nilang puntahan ang mga frontliner na walang sariling sasakyan? Papaano ang mga empleyado ng mga drug store o grocery? Papaano madadala sa ospital ang mga nagpapakita ng sintomas, kung wala silang sariling sasakyan?” she asked.
(How can the frontliners get to their destination without their own vehicles? How about the employees of drug stores and groceries? How can those who have symptoms of the disease can be brought to the hospital if they don’t have their own vehicles?)
Robredo said the private sector can help by providing financial aid to communities in need.
“Gagana lamang ito kung aarugain ang lahat, ng lahat. Hindi po natin puwedeng iasa sa gobyerno ang lahat ng pagkilos sa panahong ito,” the vice president said.
(This will work if everyone is taken care of, by everyone. We can’t depend on the government to take all the action for us during this time.)
“We respond to the worst of times with the best in ourselves,” Robredo said.