Vice President and opposition leader Leni Robredo on Monday urged Filipinos to come together and work as one in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
In another videotaped public address, Robredo said the people should “all be able to pitch in” with the COVID-19 problems besetting the country today despite their political differences.
“This is not the time to harp on the divide between administration or opposition. What’s important, especially during this time, is that we are all Filipinos,” Robredo said in Filipino.
She added, “We can do this too; my faith in the ability of the Filipino remains. I still believe that in the heart of every Filipino lies compassion for one’s fellow citizens, the openness to listen, and the capacity to rise and work together.”
The vice president also set the record straight that she had no intention to undermine the government for her criticisms and suggestions on its COVID-19 response.
Robredo explained her office wanted to help the administration on how it should address the health crisis.
“Let me emphasize this: We just want to help. We do not want the government to fail, because if the government fails, it is us Filipinos who will suffer, us Filipinos who will fall ill and die,” she said.
The lady official delivered anew her report on comprehensive steps to take in the fight against COVID-19, among which are providing additional support to local government units and preparing for massive deployment of the COVID-19 vaccine.
She also suggested setting clear and specific goals like targeting to achieve less than 5 percent COVID-19 positivity rate by end of October, providing comprehensive assistance for small businesses, and assisting those unemployed to find jobs.
Robredo believed the Philippines can beat COVID-19 like its neighbors in the Asia Pacific region if the government’s response is anchored on data and science and it has a cohesive plan.
She cited a study made by The Lancet medical journal that showed the Philippines ranked 66th while 10 of the 19 countries described as having “successfully suppressed” the virus. These are Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, China, Myanmar, Malaysia, Cambodia, New Zealand, and South Korea.
“I have no doubt that we can also accomplish what was achieved by the 19 countries,” Robredo said.
“The similarities that weave them together are clear to us: They believe in data, science, and experts; they are open to knowledge and ideas wherever these may come from; they planned properly; their governments acted quickly and in a coordinated manner,” she added.
In the same address, Robredo said she believed the government wants to solve the pandemic, but she pointed out good intentions are not enough.
”We need strategic and organized action. Because despite the good intentions, we cannot deny this truth: More Filipinos continue to get sick. More can be done; more gaps can be filled,” she said.
“We all know someone who died, or fell sick, or got buried in debt, or lost a job because of the pandemic. This is the simple truth, and if we want to change the trajectory of our country, we have to face this truth and be open to all ideas, to all suggestions, to all who are ready to help out and pitch in—because the only way through this crisis is together,” she stressed.