Opposition solons to Duterte: Where is your clear, detailed COVID-19 recovery plan?

Published July 27, 2020, 8:46 PM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

Opposition lawmakers are disappointed over President Duterte’s failure to clearly lay down his government’s coronavirus disease (COVID-19) roadmap for recovery to fully address the current heath crisis gripping the country. 

“After expecting President Rodrigo Duterte to announce and discuss his administration’s roadmap in response to the ravages on our people and economy of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is completely frustrating that any masterplan was only mentioned peripherally,” Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman said in a statement. 

“The anticipated roadmap meandered into the roadside of trite generalities and an invocation that the people should “trust its government” without telling them what actually the government’s plans are,” he pointed out. 

The six-man Makabayan bloc of the House of Representatives also scored the Chief Executive for failing to mention his administration’s clear plans on how to address the pandemic crisis. 

“Talagang bumabalik lang si Pangulong Duterte sa kanyang (The President just went back to his) default mode, droga (drugs), krimen (crime) dahil ito ang (because these are) populist issues na puwedeng pagtakapan ang incompetence ng kanyang administation (that can cover up the incompetence of his administration) lalong lalo na issue ng pandemiya ng COVID (especially the issue of the COVID pandemic), talagang hindi finully address ang problem na iyon (that problem was not fully addressed). Ngayong araw, mahigit 2,000 na naman infected (Today, over 2,000 have been infected),” House Deputy Minority leader and Bayan Muna partylist Rep. Carlos Ssagani Zarate said in a virtual press briefing. 

In a separate statement, he noted  that the Chief Executive’s  long winding speech “is once more of the same rants and excuses to camouflage his administration’s grave failure to effectively and efficiently respond to the crisis aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“He made excuses on his administration’s dismal COVID response but did not enumerate ways for it to be effectively contained like the conduct of free mass testing, pro-active contact tracing, isolation and treatment,” Zarate said.

Kabataan partylist Rep. Sarah Jane Elago, and Gabriela partylist Rep. Arlene Brosas also voiced out the same sentiment.

“Wala pa ring malinaw at kumpletong plano hinggil sa paglaban sa COVID-19 (There is no clear and comprehensive plan on the country’s fight against COVID-19). Sinabi na may target sa test (It was mentioned that there is a target for mass testing), pero ‘yung pag garantiya na gagawing libre (but the guarantee that it will be available for free) at papaigtingin lahat ng mga hakbang na nakafocus sa solusyong medikal (and there will be intensified efforts focused on medical solutions) ay kulang na kulang pa rin (are still lacking),” Elago said in a virtual presser. 

Brosas said instead of tackling the government’s clear COVID-response roadmap, the President instead prioritized the recovery plan for big business and oligarchs. 

“Hinahanap nga natin dito kanina kung ano talaga ang responde sa COVID-19 dahil may pandemya (We are looking for the government’s clear response against COVID pandemic)…Ang sinsabi ngayon (What was mentioned) ay (is) recovery plan para sa malalaking negosyo at oligarkiya (for big businesses and oligarchs) at hindi naman ang pagbangon ng ordinaryong mamamayan (and not to help the ordinary people get back on their feet),” she said.

For her part, ACT Teachers partylist Rep. France Castro said in a Viber message, “Hungkag ang SONA ni President Duterte (President Duterte’s SONA is empty), wala pa ring plano kung pano ma-flatten ang curve. (There is no plan how to flatten the curve.)

MAGDALO partylist Rep. Manuel Cabochan III also expressed dismay that the COVID-19 pandemic was not given the commensurate attention it needs, considering that it is the most urgent problem right now.

“There is still no clear COVID-19 response plan that addresses urgent issues such as rising cases, inadequate mass testing and strained hospitals and health workers. Amid the biggest health crisis we are facing, ironically, little has been said on the medical response. There is no detailed recovery plan and timeline. The approach of the government is still dependent on the vaccine and not how to co-exist in a COVID-19-inflicted environment,” he said in a statement.