Panelo grades Duterte virus response as excellent

Published January 10, 2021, 2:30 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

President Duterte has an excellent performance so far in implementing the strategy to curb the outbreak of the new coronavirus disease in the country, according to Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo.

Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Panelo praised  the President’s response to the crisis, saying the government’s swift action enabled the country to flatten the curve of infections.

“The President’s performance in addressing the  pandemic has been excellent in light of the clear success of the government’s efforts to stave off the destructive and adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Palace official said in an interview with the Manila Bulletin.

“The Philippine COVID-19 strategy enabled the flattening of the curve of infection and sufficiently controlled community transmission amongst our populace,” he said, without giving details.

Asked about any shortcomings in the government’s pandemic response, Panelo saw none since it supposedly implied a comparison with a certain standard.

He noted that the new coronavirus had “no precedent” and the challenges arising from the pandemic are new. Every country had to “tailor fit” response to the pandemic with due regard to “geographic, cultural, and economic peculiarities” while learning to deal with the virus.

Panelo recognized the public’s anxiety about COVID-19 but assured them of the government’s efforts to mitigate the impact of the health emergency. He said the government sprang into action and swiftly activated its established mechanisms, including the Inter-Agency Task Forces for the Management of Infectious Diseases (IATF).

“The IATF was forced to initially act with a scarcity of knowledge both internationally and domestically. However, as the days passed, the capability, adaptability and ingenuity of our government officials, and health experts, as well as private scientists and consultants, shined through the dark and now, we are enjoying the fruits of their arduous toil,” he said.

To date, the country has 485,797 COVID-19 even as community quarantine remained in effect across the country. More than 9,000 have died due to the illness.

Health authorities have given conflicting pronouncements on whether or not the country has flattened the pandemic curve or the number of cases over a period of time. Keeping the curve down can reduce the burden on the health care system and help people get better access to medical services.

At present, the Philippines has the second highest number of COVID cases in Southeast Asia, next to Indonesia which recorded 818,386 cases based on the John Hopkins University’s global tracking.