VP seeks ‘balancing act’ between economy and public health amid lockdown

Published April 19, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Raymund Antonio 

Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday recognized the need to allow economic activity, but she said people should be protected from novel coronavirus infection.

Vice-President Leni Robredo, speaks duringa press conference at her office in Quezon City. Robredo accpeted the position given to her by President Rodrigo Duterte to co-chair the Anti-Illegal Drugs Council. (Mark Balmores / MANILA BULLETIN)
Vice-President Leni Robredo

“On one hand, ayaw natin na magkaroon ng dahilan na, parang iyong contamination maging grabe. Sa kabilang banda naman, kailangan iyong ekonomiya hindi bumagsak …So ito talaga, araw-araw kailangan binabalanse,” she said.

(On one hand, we don’t want to have a reason for the contamination to get worse. On the other, we need the economy not to collapse…So these should be balanced everyday.)

“Sa akin lang, kailangan habang binabalanse ito, sinisiguro natin na iyong ating healthcare system ay hinahanda natin.”

(For me, while we are balancing it, we have to make sure our healthcare system is ready.)

The vice president was speaking on her weekly radio show, where she was asked about the proposal of former Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia to allow more economic activity by the private sector during a modified lockdown in Luzon.

Last Friday, Pernia resigned as head of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), citing personal reasons and philosophical differences with fellow Cabinet members.

Under his watch, he recommended the modified lockdown as the enhanced community quarantine is set to end on April 30. He said this should be accompanied by mass testing for the coronavirus disease.

Pernia also wanted the implementation of vital infrastructure projects like roads, highways, and railways.

Robredo recognized the valuable contribution of Pernia to the economy and his “solid conviction” during his almost four years on the job.

“Ito, nakakalungkot kasi ang taas ng respeto natin kay Secretary Pernia. Naging isang haligi din siya sa pamahalaan na ito. Kahit noong nasa private sector pa siya, talagang respetadong ekonomista,” she said.

(This is sad because we have high respect for Secretary Pernia. He had become a pillar of this government. Even he was still in the private sector, he was really a respected economist.)