‘Nothing wrong’ in swallowing pride: Sotto asks IATF to tap crisis managers, health experts

Published March 29, 2021, 3:50 PM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

There is nothing wrong in seeking help from experts to better respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This was Senate President Vicente Sotto III’s two cents as the government imposed again the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila, Rizal, Bulacan, Cavite and Laguna due to rising number of novel coronavirus disease cases (COVID-19).

Senate President Vicente Sotto III
(Joseph Vidal / Senate PRIB / FILE PHOTO)

The ECQ, the most restrictive of all the government’s quarantine classification, takes effect until April 4.

In a statement, Sotto said it would be “better” for authorities to finally tap crisis managers and health experts to handle the worsening situation of the country.

“Edifying” the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, he said, “could drive the government to a better direction in managing the pandemic.”

“The government needs to come up with more elevated and effective response programs to address the pandemic, not band-aid solutions that have so far failed to plug the rising number of infections in the country. There is nothing wrong if IATF will be aided or led by crisis managers and health experts,” Sotto said.

He said that logical measures being proposed by health experts have been dismissed and ridiculed by members of the the task force.

“These people in the inner circle have been sitting in their high chairs for more than a year now. Their voices dominate discussions on how to address the COVID-19 crisis, and they boom louder when their strategies are criticized,” Sotto pointed out.

“Mas maganda sana na pakinggan din ng ating pamahalaan ang kanilang mga sinasabi. Wala namang masama kung magkakaroon ang gobyerno ng maraming choices. Isantabi na sana muna nila ang kanilang mga pride at isipin ang makabubuti sa sambayanan (It would be better if our government would listen to what the experts are saying. There is nothing wrong if the government will be given more choices. I hope they set aside their pride and think of what would be good for our people),” he added.

Sotto lamented that the country has been under community quarantine and been trusting the IATF for a year. He, too, noted that majority of local government units (LGUs) and Filipinos have been compliant the quarantine protocols.

“Ang tanong? Bakit ganito tayo ulit? Saan nagkulang? Mas lalo pa ngang lumala ang sitwasyon ngayon, mas marami ang may sakit, bagsak pa rin ang ating ekonomiya, at lalong dumami ang mga walang trabaho (The question is, why did we end up like this again? Where did we go wrong? The situation has worsened now, many are still sick, our economy is still sufferng, and more workers are losing their jobs),” he said.

“Our people are willing to sacrifice, we are all willing to make sacrifices. But we can only sacrifice so much. Hanggang kelan ba natin kailangang magsakripisyo (Until when do people have to make sacrifices)?” he added.

Sotto said: “We need to do more and act fast.”

“If few people are making huge and life-changing decision for all of us then they should do an excellent job,” he stressed.

Several senators have called for an overhaul of the IATF, which is led by Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.