Jul 29, 2020
Two days after President Duterte delivered his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA), Vice President Leni Robredo addressed the public on Wednesday (July 29) to present a comprehensive plan to abate the spread of COVID-19 in the country and the pandemic’s impact to Filipinos.
In a 22-minute speech, Robredo presented an eight-point recommendation to improve government’s COVID-19 response, as well as lessons her Office has learned since the start of the virus outbreak in Philippines.
Before detailing her recommendations, Robredo reiterated that immediate action, not waiting on the development of a vaccine, should be done to prevent COVID-19 from spreading further in the country.
This starts, according to Robredo, with using accurate data so authorities could pinpoint exactly which areas should be prioritized in terms of the deployment of mass testing and contact tracing systems, and support to communities and hospitals.
“Kung magiging tama ang tugon sa aspekto ng healthcare, mako-control ang community transmission, magiging mas mabilis, ligtas, at strategic ang pagbubukas ng ekonomiya, maiiwasan ang pagkawala ng trabaho, at hindi na dadami pa ang dadanas ng kahirapan,” she said.
“Mababawasan ang pangamba ng pagsasara, at hindi na kakailanganing umabot sa punto ng pagle-layoff sa mga empleyado, o mas malala, sa pagtiklop ng mga negosyo,” Robredo added.
The Vice President then presented the recommendations, which she said was based on her Office’s lessons and experience in dealing with the health sector and affected communities in its COVID-19 response efforts.
First, establish a centralized repository of COVID-19 data to speed up the verification of cases and decision-making process;
Second, involve members of the academe to help Department of Health (DOH) in the process of validating COVID-19 data;
Third, expedite the turnover time of COVID-19 tests and determine the sources of test backlogs. This way, contact tracers could also be deployed on-time;
Fourth, come up with an organized mechanism in processing the needs of locally-stranded individuals. This includes giving them a free swab test, a decent shelter where minimum health standards could be observed, and providing them livelihood through cash-for-work programs upon arriving in their home provinces;
Fifth, ensure that a “true” whole of nation approach is used by the administration in creating policies to address COVID-19 related issues;
Sixth; come up with a reasonable consensus from the public and private sector in creating strategies, in the provision of cash aid to affected individuals, and in the procurement of goods and services;
Seventh, ensure an equitable and systematic distribution of resources to hospitals so they could meet the demands of the pandemic;
And eighth, make available all forms of support and provision to all healthcare workers as they are our soldiers in the battle against COVID-10.
Robredo also reminded the administration Filipinos dying from the virus are not just mere statistics.
“Bawat isa sa kanila, may kuwento, may pangarap; may pamilya sila, may nagluluksa para sa kanila. At habang dumadami sila, lalo lang tayong mahihirapang umusad tungo sa isang better normal—dadami ang mga dadanas ng kahirapan, dadami ang hindi makakaambag sa nation-building, tatagal ang biyahe patungo sa katuparan ng mga pangarap natin. Magkakaugnay ang kapalaran ng bawat Pilipino,” she said.