Backed by science? Robredo perplexed why IATF allows cinemas, arcades opening in GCQ areas

Published February 14, 2021, 12:55 PM

by Raymund Antonio

Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday questioned the government’s decision to allow cinemas and game arcades to operate when it has not even addressed issues of transportation and face-to-face classes in schools.

Speaking on her weekly radio show, Robredo was puzzled why the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) against COVID-19 allowed the opening of cinemas and video game arcades, both located in enclosed areas. 

“We are going to prioritize cinemas and video game arcade. These are enclosed. For more than an hour the people are going to be there together. I do not know if this is based on science,” she said in Filipino.

The vice president was reacting to the recent pronouncement of the IATF to allow driving schools, cinemas, libraries, museums, video game arcades, theme parks, tourist attractions, and other leisure activities to reopen in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ). These places include Metro Manila.

Robredo reiterated her call for the administration to focus on the health aspect of reopening the economy. 

She noted that recently, the number of COVID-19 positive cases hit the 2,000-mark again with 44 cases of the new more transmissible variant first detected in the United Kingdom.

“This is a cause for concern. I don’t know what kind of science is behind it. We understand that the economy needs to reopen but even when they reopened the malls, there aren’t a lot of people there because they are still afraid.”

Robredo said the lack of consultation with stakeholders lead policies to be retracted after they have been announced. 

“Kung sinunod sana nila iyon (consultation first), hindi mangyayari iyong mga ganito na nagdeklara na ng policy tapos may appeal galing sa mga opisyal (If they only consulted first, this will not happen wherein they already declared the policy then there will be an appeal from the officials),” she stressed.

The opposition leader said it has always been her suggestion to meet with various stakeholders first before coming up with policies, adding that there have been many instances that the government had to retract its announcements. 

Robredo cited as an example the recent child car seat law wherein the public argued on social media about the practicality of the law in terms of the age and height of the children required to be on a car seat. 

“Now, it’s the same complaint by the mayors that they were not consulted. That’s our number one concern there. The second is I don’t know if this is based on science,” she said.

Meanwhile, Robredo also cited the latest Lancet study that stated the government’s response to the pandemic has an impact on the confidence of the people to get vaccinated. 

“These are the things that we should focus on so we can reopen the economy. The vaccine is a big thing,” she said.

Robredo added she was surprised when she learned the other day that Bangladesh, a developing nation, already started vaccinating its citizens.