COVID-19 crisis well-managed; Duterte prioritizes pandemic — Roque

Published August 26, 2021, 3:15 PM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Malacañang was confident that the government has been able to manage the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic quite well, and will continue to do so despite President Duterte’s plan to run as vice president in the 2022 elections.

People flock outside Las Piñas Medical Hospital on Aug. 5, 2021 for a scheduled coronavirus vaccination. (ALI VICOY / MANILA BULLETIN)

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after Duterte confirmed his intention to run for the said post in next year’s polls due to unfinished business in his campaign against illegal drugs and criminality, among others.

In his press briefing on Thursday, August 26, Roque said that addressing the pandemic will remain as Duterte’s top priority despite the upcoming elections.

“Tingin ko po, kahit anong maging plano ng ating Presidente, pangunahing atensyon pa rin niya ang pandemya (I think, no matter what the President’s plans are, his attention will still be focused on the pandemic),” he said.

According to Roque, resolving the health crisis has always been on top of the President’s mind.

“Kaya nga po, kahit papaano, kahit kaunti ang ating resources kumpara sa iba, kahit sinosolo ng mga mayayamang bansa ang mga bakuna, eh umuubra naman po tayo (That’s why even though we have fewer resources, even though other countries are hoarding the vaccines, we’re at least getting by),” he said.

“Nama-manage naman po natin fairly well ang ating COVID response (We have been managing our COVID-19 response fairly well),” he added.

Roque further supplemented these by citing the recent assessment of World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for the Western Pacific Dr. Takeshi Kasai who commended the Philippine government for its significant effort in vaccinations.

“I was very happy to hear yesterday that the vaccination coverage for the healthcare workers already reached above 95 percent. For the elderly, the pace is already going up and has reached more than 46 percent,” Kasai said.

I wanted to really encourage people to get the vaccine when your time comes,” he added.

Roque likewise cited a months-old assessment of WHO Country Representative Rabindra Abeyasinghe where he thought back on February 1, 2021, before the surge and the spread of the Delta variant, that the Philippines has a very good comprehensive plan.

“All these showed you have prepared and used the lockdown wisely to deal with the pandemic and the reflection is that you have managed to prevent a large number of deaths like we have seen in several other countries,” read the part of Abeyasinghe’s statement that Roque cited in his press briefing.

Meanwhile, the Palace official encouraged the public to get vaccinated so they can return to their normal lives and improve the quality of life in the country.