IATF should be replaced with science-based council — Diokno

Published November 24, 2021, 12:58 PM

by Raymund Antonio

Instead of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, a senatorial aspirant said he intends to create the Pandemic Management Council that is science and technology-driven.

Human rights lawyer Chel Diokno (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

That would be one of his priority measures if he is elected senator, according to human rights advocate and former law dean Jose Manuel ‘Chel’ Diokno in an online interview on Wednesday, Nov. 24.

“Ang kalaban natin dito sa pandemic na ito ay hindi naman mga armadong sundalo. Ang kalaban natin ay isang virus (Our enemy in this pandemic are not the armed soldiers. Our enemy is the virus),” said Diokno.

“Kaya iyong dapat mamamahala sa pag-manage ng pandemic ay siyempre iyong nakakaalam sa issues ng health, issues ng science, issues ng IT at technology (That’s why the one who should manage the pandemic is the one who knows the issues on health, IT, and technology),” he added.

Should he win as senator, Diokno plans to submit a proposed measure creating the Pandemic Management Council to replace the IATF or the government’s pandemic task force.

Diokno, a member of Katipunan ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino, is vying for a Senate seat in presidential aspirant Vice President Leni Robredo’s ticket.

The veteran lawyer noted the country still has no nationwide systematized contact tracing since the coronavirus outbreak in March last year.

READ: HPAAC: Improve contact tracing as Metro Manila eases to Alert Level 2

“Iyong iba’t ibang mga siyudad meron, iyong iba magaganda, pero hindi nako-connect lahat (The different cities have contact tracing, the others are good, but these are not all connected),” Diokno stressed, adding that the government should have left the matter to the hands of the IT experts.

“Ang naging approach nila ay talagang, tawagin nating kamay na bakal. Hindi natin nagagawa ang dapat gawin sa pandemya (Their approach is really, let us call it an iron hand. We are not able to do what needs to be done to the pandemic),” he added.

Under his planned measure, Diokno said those who violate quarantine protocols will be made to engage community service and will not be imprisoned.

Diokno is the current head of the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG), a group that provides free legal aid to victims of abuse and poor Filipinos.