Lacson: What went wrong in government's fight against COVID-19

Published January 24, 2022, 10:14 PM

by Ben Rosario

From a Chinese couple who toured the country while infected with COVID-19 to the handling of the current Omicron variant, government bid to combat the pandemic has been a failure.

Senator Panfilo Lacson with host Boy Abunda

PROMDI chairman and standard bearer Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson aired this assessment of the two years that government has been battling the pandemic that has killed over 53,000 Filipinos and infected 3,.4 million.

Appearing as the first guest presidential candidate of ABS-CBN’s 2022 Presidential One-on-One Interviews, Lacson was asked by program host Boy Abunda to comment on the COVID-19 situation in the country.

The senator lamented that government had been given a number of opportunities to prevent or at least reduce the adverse effects of the pandemic but failed to take advantage of them.

He said government should have been ‘pro-active’ in addressing COVID-19 concerns.

Lacson cited the case of the Wuhan couple that was able to visit areas in the country despite being infected with the deadly virus.

The husband died later but his body was not buried for nearly a week because of the lack of approval from the Chinese embassy. Under Philippine laws, the deceased who died from highly contagious disease that threaten public health should be buried within 24 hours after death.

Making matters even worse was government’s snail-paced contract tracing bid, Lacson stated.

Lacson said government also did not swiftly ban the arrival of travelers and tourists from China despite the already dire COVID-19 situation affecting huge parts of the world.

“Hindi ba hindi natin pinagbawalan ang mga turistang sa Tsina dahil kaibigan daw natin ang Tsina? (Is it not that we did not prohibit Chinese tourists because they say China is a friend?),” noted Lacson.

The presidential bet also aired misgivings over government’s handling of the Omicron variant, pointing out that the country had been sufficiently warned about its devastating effects.

He said the vaccination program could have been successful had government not turned down help offered by the private sector that volunteered to inoculate their workers. Instead of helping rich local government units procure their own vaccine supply for their constituents, the national government discouraged them with the imposition of restrictive regulations.

“Just imagine, Boy, kung pinayagan nila ang mga iyon. Tinulungan sa halip na barahan baka hindi ganyan karami ang problema natin. (… if they were permitted. If they were assisted instead of blocked, we might not have that much problem),” said Lacson.