Former Vice President and senatorial aspirant Jejomar Binay expressed his concern over the sudden relaxation of pandemic restrictions amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the threat of its more contagious Delta variant.
“Some government officials are eager to allow more people outdoors. This is understandable, but they should learn from what happened last year when they prematurely loosened restrictions in time for the holidays. We were hit by a surge a few months after, even worse than the surge last year. And it is the people who suffered the most,” Binay said.
“Dapat mahinahon. Dapat paghandaan at dapat sigurado (It should be gradual. It should be prepared and sure), it is better to be cautious now, than sorry later,” he added.
Binay noted that even if there is a drastic increase in the number of vaccinated individuals in Metro Manila, there is still high vaccine hesitancy and lack of access to vaccines in other parts of the country.
“And while cases are going down in the National Capital Region (NCR) and key areas, hospitals are saying they are not feeling the downtrend, especially in the provinces. The situation is aggravated by the continuing departure of nurses and health workers,” Binay said.
The former vice president said that this should be the time to strengthen the country’s public health system as a defense against any future surge in COVID cases or future pandemics.
He lamented that the national government would rather spend more money on roads and other infrastructures than give priority to pandemic response.
He also flagged the spending on the Dolomite Beach in Manila, than hospitals, medicines, and benefits for health workers.
“It’s about time we rethink our priorities,” Binay said.