Filipino voters reminded: 'Improved US handling of pandemic noticeable after 2020 polls'

Published June 17, 2021, 1:15 PM

by Ben Rosario

An international public health expert has urged Filipino voters to remember in next year’s national elections the positive improvements in the United States government’s handling of the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis after last year’s presidential elections.

Public health and international health systems specialist Dr. Albert Domingo on Wednesday, June 16 encouraged Filipinos to adopt the slogan “Boto Ko, Buhay Ko” as the battlecry for next year’s national elections.

He said government’s handling or mishandling of the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis should form a principal consideration in choosing the next leaders of the country.

“Gamitin natin ang eleksyon para mabuhay tayo (Let’s use the election to ensure that we live),” Domingo stressed during a virtual news forum.

Also present in the forum were Rizal Rep. Fidel Nograles and former Kabataan Partylist and Infrawatch convenor Terry Ridon.

Domingo recalled that a rapid and vast positive improvement in public health programs and COVID-19 situation has become noticeable in the United States after it conducted the most recent presidential elections that President Joe Biden won.

He said Filipinos should heed the US experience, adopt the “Boto Ko, Buhay Ko” slogan and be reminded to pick next year’s candidates based on current experiences in the handling of the COVID-19 epidemic in the country and on what bets suggest to do about the deadly disease if elected.

Ridon agreed that the COVID-19 issue is expected to be raised by candidates to score “political points” for the 2022 polls.

However, Ridon cautioned politicians against using the issue as “political chips” that would help them win. He called on candidates to be candid and truthful in expressing their views and plans to address the COVID-19 crisis, stressing that “lives and health of Filipinos” are at stake.

Domingo, a former World Health Organization consultant, explained that with ten more months to go before the May polls, “a lot of things may happen” in connection with the COVID-19 problem.

“We may experience two or three more waves or achieve herd immunity before the May elections,” he pointed out.

“Let us vote based on how the incumbent officials are handling this pandemic,” said Domingo.

He said current leaders and their challengers should realize the high stakes involved on the pandemic. People should hold incumbent officials “accountable” for their performance.

“Candidates should present their anti-COvID 19 strategy based on science. To the voters, don’t be misled by red herring, ask the right questions,” Domingo said.