Hontiveros bares she will 'fire' Health chief; 'poor' pandemic response cited

Published April 29, 2022, 11:57 AM

by Betheena Unite

If reelectionist Senator Risa Hontiveros is given the power to fire someone from the government today, she will sack Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.

Senator Risa Hontiveros (Photo courtesy of Hontiveros Office)

Hontiveros said this when asked to name a government official she will fire if given the chance to do so during an interview at the Fast Talk+ and Why of the 2022 senatorial candidates with Boy Abunda on Wednesday, April 27.

“If you have a power to fire someone in government today, who would this be and why?” Abunda asked.

Hontiveros initially mentioned a “highest official” but opted to shift to the secretary of Health.

“Oh, sige wag na lang yung isang pinakamataas dahil ilang buwan na lang siya. Baka yung ating secretary of Health (Okay, I won’t choose the highest one because he only has a few months in the office. Perhaps, our secretary of Health),” the lawmaker said.

“[K]asi pinaka-pathetic na (Because it’s the most pathetic) health response in the region and maybe even in the world, isa sa pinaka-poor (one of the poorest) in terms of our pandemic response,” she added.

Hontiveros justified her answer by saying that the pandemic has led to many infections and deaths in the country and comparing the response to other countries, which are much smaller than the Philippines but were able to deliver response “better and earlier.”

“Unforgivable ‘no, na sa mga pinakamatinding health crisis ng ating henerasyon, when other countries na mas mababa pa ang level of development have done so much better and earlier, hindi hinintay itong year 3 practically para mag-step up, e, ganito pa rin karami ang nagkasakit at namatay na hindi dapat at consequently ang daming nawalang ng trabaho at hanapbuhay na hindi sana nangyari (It’s unforgivable that in the most difficult health crisis of our generation, when other countries that have lower level of development have done so much better and earlier, they did not wait for year 3 to practically step up, many are still getting the disease and dying, which should’ve not happened and consequently many lost their jobs and livelihood which should’ve not happened),” Hontiveros explained.

During the interview, she was also asked whether she would aim for the presidency someday. She said “not president.” The senator bared that she has dreamt about “becoming a prime minister or minister because I am interested in the shift to parliamentary form of government.”

Hontiveros is running for reelection under the ticket of aspiring president Vice President Leni Robredo.

On Wednesday, April 27, Hontiveros gained the endorsement of incumbent Isabela Governor Rodito Albano III and Vice Governor Faustino G. Dy III, along with about 25 mayors of the province.

The lady senator also earned the support of local retailers and retail workers after the Philippine Amalgamated Supermarkets’ Association (PAGASA) endorsed her reelection bid also on Wednesday.