Go rates PH’s COVID-19 pandemic response as ‘very good’

Published February 3, 2021, 3:41 PM

by Mario Casayuran

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go on Wednesday rated the country’s coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic response so far as “very good.”

Go, chairman of the Senate health and demography committee, however, cautioned against complacency as the public awaits the implementation of the national vaccination program.

Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go (OFFICE OF SEN. BONG GO / MANILA BULLETIN)

During the launch of the 100th Malasakit Center at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Muntinlupa City on Tuesday, February 2, Go said that the government was doing its best to combat the pandemic.

He also concurred with the World Health Organization (WHO) that the country’s pandemic response was “very good”.

“Alam naman natin na ginagawa po ni Pangulong Duterte at ng Executive Department, including ang ating health officials (and experts), mga kapulisan at mga militar ang lahat para labanan itong COVID-19. Ako po ay naniniwala sa sinabi ng WHO na very good po ang ating response, ang ating gobyerno,” Go said.

(We know that President Duterte and the Executive Department, including our health officials and experts, our policemen and military that these are designed to fight COVID-19. I believe what WHO said that our response is ‘very good’.’’)

The senator from Davao, however, cautioned the public against complacency, stating that the fight against the pandemic is not yet over.

 “Ngunit huwag po tayong magkumpiyansa. Hindi pa po natatapos ang laban natin sa COVID-19. Hopefully, matapos na po itong pandemyang ito. Nakikita naman namin na sa susunod na taon ay unti-unti na tayong mag-a-adjust,” he said. (Let us not be complacent. Our fight against COVID-19 is not yet over. Hopefully, the pandemic will come to an end. We will see that in the coming year, we will gradually adjust.)

 “Kaya sumunod muna tayo sa gobyerno. Mag-social distancing, hugas ng kamay, mask at face shield. Sa mga matitigas na ulong mga Pilipino, nakikiusap kami sa inyo. Sa ngayon naman po marami ang mga sumusunod, sa pag-iikot ko po marami ang naka-mask. Gusto pa pong humaba ang kanilang buhay. ‘Yun namang iba ayaw mag-mask, ‘yun po ang mga nagmamadali po,” he added. (We should follow instructions of the government. Social distancing, wash hands, use mask and face shields. To the hard-headed, we plead with you. During my rounds, there are many who follow the health protocols. Many wear masks. They want to live longer. The lives of those who do not wear masks are shortened.)

Go said that he would support the provision of additional budget for the Department of Health’s  (DOH’s) genome sequencing to detect new COVID-19 variants.

 “Nakausap ko kanina si Secretary (Francisco) Duque kung kakailanganin nila ng pondo para sa genome sequencing. Hindi naman natin akalain na may darating na bagong UK variant at hindi po ito kasali sa budget ng 2021 itong mga testing na ito,” Go lamented. (I talked to {Health} Secretary {Francisco} Duque if they need funds for genome sequencing. We did not know that the new UK variant would appear and this is not included in the 2021 national budget.)

“Ako po, bilang Committee chair (ng Senate Committee on Health), ay handa akong makiusap sa ating mahal na Pangulo na ngayong taon ay malagyan na ito ng pondo. Kakausapin ko rin si Secretary (Wendel) Avisado ng DBM (Department of Budget and Management) dahil hindi na po ito makaaantay ng 2022,” Go said. (As chairman of the Senate health committee, I am ready to talk to the President that this would be funded this year. I will talk to DBM Secretary Wendel Avisado because we could not wait for 2022.)

 Earlier, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in an online media forum that the proposed additional P362 million budget was consolidated requirements coming from University of the Philippines – National Institutes of Health, Philippine Genome Center, and also the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).

Go said that the budget might be sourced from contingency funds.

“Sa ngayon po dahil kapos pa po ang budget natin ngayong 2021, ang Executive Department, pwede nilang gawan ‘yan ng paraan sa contingency fund ng ating mahal na Pangulo,” Go said.  (Our funds in the 2021 budget are limited. The Executive Department can touch the President’s contingency funds.)        

“Nandito po ako, handa po akong tumulong at makipag-usap kay Pangulong Duterte upang mabigyan kaagad sila ng pondo para maumpisahan na agad ang testing sa bagong variant,” he added. (I am here, ready to talk to the President so that funds could be released for testing of the new COVID-19 variant.

 
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