By Mario Casayuran
Opposition Senator Francis N. Pangilinan said on Saturday the Filipino people need leadership to provide solutions to defeat the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), protect them, and address the hunger now facing millions.
Pangilinan, president of the Liberal Party (LP), also said the party stands behind human rights lawyer Jose Manuel ‘Chel’ Diokno and his defense of people who have approached him after being summoned by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for allegedly criticizing the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘’Like Dean Chel, we also stand behind those who are afraid, frustrated, and dismayed at the lack of government support for our health workers, the loss of income, the absence of food packs and cash assistance for the most vulnerable,’’ he added.
Pangilinan said while the country is facing a protracted crisis that tests the people’s ability to work together as one nation, ‘’the clarion call for all of us is to pull our heads and resources together to mitigate the negative impacts of this pandemic to our people without violating their rights and dignity.’’
‘’There is a time for reckoning but right now, we have to act fast and decisively to end this national nightmare and save more lives,’’ he said.
He added that government agencies should resolve the following:
– Fight COVID-19 by supporting hospitals, doctors, and nurses throughout the archipelago.
– Fight poverty and address the clamor of the people through fast and efficient distribution of cash assistance and food packs.
– Make funds available.
– Implement the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act recently enacted into law so that the people would feel the billions of pesos for financial assistance embedded in the law.
‘’Tutukan at labanan ang malalang sakit at matinding gutom,’’ Pangilinan said. (Focus on and fight this serious disease and hunger.)