Robredo bothered that Duque wasn't consulted on 'green' countries policy change

Published October 15, 2021, 1:25 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

Vice President Leni Robredo finds it bothersome that Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III was not consulted in the Inter-Agency Task Force’s (IATF) recent decision to waive the quarantine retirement for vaccinated travellers coming from so-called “green” countries.

Vice President Leni Robredo (left) and DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III (MANILA BULLETIN)

Robredo, speaking in a press conference Friday, Oct. 15, said the IATF is supposed to be the government’s “clearing house” for health policies in connection with the persisting coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Yung nakakagulat lang, ito yung bothersome sa akin, yung statement ni Secretary Duque na he was not consulted. So ang isip ko noon, papaano nangyari yun? (What’s surprising and bothersome to me is Secretary Duque’s statement that he wasn’t consulted. So my thought was, how did that happen?)” Robredo asked.

“Siya yung supposedly head ng DOH tapos may isang health measure na gagawin tapos hindi mo alam (He’s supposedly the head of the DOH and then there’s this new health measure that you don’t know about),” noted the presidential aspirant.

Duque had claimed that he was not consulted on the decision to lift the quarantine requirement for vaccinated travellers from green countries as he was not able to attend the IATF meeting.

In a virtual press conference Thursday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said himself, Duque, and other IATF representatives weren’t able to attend because they were all in Davao Wednesday to take part in President Duterte’s “Talk to the People” public briefing. The briefing didn’t push through.

“So sa akin kaya bothersome yun kasi, papaano yung proseso? Bakit nagdedesisyon ng isang bagay na yung Secretary of Health na siya nga yung pinaka-team leader dapat, hindi alam? Yun yung number one concern ko (For me that’s bothersome because, how will the process be? Why are they deciding on something that the Secretary of Health, the supposed team leader, doesn’t know about? That’s my number one concern),” Robredo said.

The opposition leader then took a swipe at how the current administration has handled its pandemic response, saying the country can no longer afford “flip-flopping decisions”.

“In the past, marami na tayong mga flip-flopping na desisyon; may sasabihin, babawiin. Eh hindi na natin maa-afford yun eh. Kasi ngayon medyo nakahinga-hinga tayo nang konti na medyo bumaba yung kaso, pero ang ayaw natin mangyari yung babalik nanaman tayo sa roller-coaster ride na bubuti, sasama, bubuti (We’ve had a lot of flip-flopping decisions in the past; a policy is issued only to be taken back. We can longer afford that. We may have some breathing room now because the cases dropped a bit, but we don’t want to go back to the roller-coaster ride wherein things will improve, get worse, and then improve),” she explained.

Green-list nations and jurisdictions are classified as “low risk” based on COVID-19 incidence rate and case count. As such, travelers coming from these countries are made to accomplish less stringent quarantine protocols upon arriving in the Philippines.