Binay scoffs at claim that gov’t is ‘excellent’ in handling COVID-19 crisis

Published March 24, 2021, 4:08 PM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Senator Nancy Binay is also finding it hard to believe that the government has been “excellent” in handling the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sen. Nancy Binay (Alex Nueva España/Senate PRIB)

In an interview with CNN Philippines, Binay expressed her disagreement with Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque’s insistence that the government has been doing an excellent job, compared to other countries, in controlling the spread of the novel coronavirus and its variants.

“Dapat natin sabihin na we have never flattened the curve, di ba (We should tell him that we have never flattened the curve)?” Binay pointed out.

“Kaya nga at least doon sa ibang bansa, nakaka-third wave na sila (At least other countries are already experiencing their wave). Tayo (But us), we’re still in the first wave, we are still in the hardest kind of lockdown,” she added.

She continued: “Tayo lang ‘yong nagimplement na kailangan ng face shield.   Sa Asia tayo lang ‘yong hindi nagbubukas ng eskwelahan, all over the world, one of the 14 countries na wala pa ring schooling ang ating mga kabataan (We are the only country that has mandated the use of face shield. And in Asia, we are the only country that has yet to open schools and one of the 14 countries all over the world that have yet to allow children to go to school).”

“So parang mahirap sabihin na naging excellent tayo (I think it’s hard to say that we have been excellent) at any given point,” she opined.

Binay was asked about Roque’s response to the appeals for the abolition and overhaul of the Interagency Task Force (IATF) on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases as COVID-19 cases in the country continue to spike.

The presidential spokesman said it was not the IATF’s fault that the coronavirus has mutated into more contagious variants, instead slamming critics for supposedly politicizing the health crisis.

Binay said she agrees with Senator Ralph Recto and Risa Hontiveros on the need for the IATF’s overhaul, to include “more voices from the medical profession”.

“Baka ganon na nga ‘yong kailangan (Maybe that’s what we need), because they had one year to fix the problem, but nasaan tayo ngayon (where are we right now)? We are worse off, di ba (right)? So baka kailangan ng major changes doon sa mga policy-makers natin (maybe major changes are needed among our policy-makers) when it comes to COVID-19 response,” she said.

She particularly lamented the IATF’s reactive response to the threats of emerging COVID-19 variants, as authorities previously dismissed its possibility.

“Anong ginawa ng IATF (What did the IATF do)? We opened up the economy, hindi ba paulit-ulit nilang sinasabi na wala pang (weren’t they telling us that there was stil no) community transmission and all of a sudden, kalat na pala dito sa Metro Manila itong bagong variant (the new variants have spread in Metro Manila)?”

“From day one, when we had this COVID-19, ‘yong (the) approach was not proactive eh. It was always ‘okay lang, okay lang (it’s okay)’ and all of a sudden, sumasabog sa atin yong problema (the problem just blows up right onto our face),” she said.