Two opposition senators on Sunday said President Duterte should own up to the mistakes committed by his administration in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic when he delivers his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA).
Sen. Risa Hontiveros said Duterte’s SONA should no longer contain any denials, threats, or any downplaying of the country’s situation amid the pandemic. Instead, she said, Malacañang should accept and apologize for its shortcomings in the last few months.
“Karapatan ng taumbayan na marinig ang sinserong pag-ako at paghingi ng tawad ng pamahalaan – sa delayed response mula noong naitala ang pinaka-unang kaso ng COVID-19 sa bansa, sa kawalan ng preparasyon at plano, at sa kulang na suporta sa mga LGUs at frontliners, (The people has the right to hear the government sincerely accepting its liability and apology for the delayed response when it failed to consider the first case of COVID-19 in the country, their lack of preparation and plans and their lack of support to the local government units and frontliners),” Hontiveros further added.
The senator said she hopes to hear the government pledging to improve its service to the people, starting by increasing transparency and accountability for the billions of pesos in funds being used for the country’s COVID-19 response.
“Tandaan natin, malapit na umabot sa 80,000 cases ang kaso ng COVID-19 sa bansa. Magdadalawang-libo na rin ang tally ng mga namatay. Dumarami pa ang mahigit pitong milyong Pilipino na nawalan ng hanapbuhay, (Let’s remember, the COVID-19 cases in our country is nearing 80,000 cases. The number of deaths is nearing 2,000. The number of Filipinos losing jobs is almost more than 7 million),” she pointed out.
De Lima, for her part, said she expects the least from Duterte’s fifth SONA, pointing out that the administration’s bankruptcy in ideas in dealing with the COVID-19 crisis has made him a “lameduck” President this early into the 2022 presidential elections.
“For all intents and purposes, this is already the end of the Duterte regime. People are itching to shake Duterte off their skin like a parasite and move forward to a new government,” De Lima said.
Because of this, De Lima said she expects this year’s SONA to be the most expensive “tagayan” (drinking) session where his allied senators and members of the House will indulge him in his most drunken ramblings in his penultimate address.
“As for us, after Monday, we only have to suffer one more SONA before this nightmare is finally over, and then we begin dealing with its consequences: a ruined economy, a runaway and rampaging virus, a divided nation, a rudderless ship of state, and a hopelessly devastated people,” the lawmaker said.
“But we have no choice but to deal with these consequences. It is the responsibility we assumed as citizens the very day 16 million Filipinos voted an incompetent, corrupt, and murderous sociopath to the presidency,” de Lima added.