Vice President Leni Robredo shared concrete, feasible suggestions on how the government could resolve the novel coronavirus pandemic, which message the public had sought from the previous presidential address.
Robredo’s message came days after President Rodrigo Duterte’s more than an hour Fifth State of the Nation Address on Monday, July 27 was criticized for lacking nuance and inspiration as the country tries to recover from the global crisis. For many, it failed to provide health-oriented solutions to reduce the surge of COVID-19 cases.
Duterte only cited the Bayanihan to Recover as One and the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) bills as his main solutions to help the much-weakened economy due to the past lockdowns.
Several environmental groups also expressed disappointment in Duterte’s failure to provide clear plans to protect the environment.
Meanwhile, in Robredo’s nearly 23-minute video, the transcript of which was also posted on her official Facebook page, she managed to make specific recommendations on public health, education and economy amid the pandemic.
Her name “VP Leni” immediately trended on local Twitter with more than 14,000 tweets after as Filipinos commended her statement. Some deemed it as the “real SONA.”
“Now, that’s what a real SONA should be. Thank you VP Leni for continuing to believe in the Filipino people! Lalaban tayo at hindi magpapatalo sa COVID-19!” blogger Harvey Keh said.
A sociology teacher who goes by the Twitter name Ash Presto with the handle @sosyolohija noted that the hope Robredo conveyed in her speech is what Filipinos needed to “witness.”
“VP Leni says Filipinos aren’t pasaway and are always ready to care for each other. The VP looks at Filipinos with strength and unity,” she said.
“This is what we needed to witness in a state of the nation address– not targeted attacks and personal rants that only aggravate national divides,” she added.
Robredo said that she decided to face the public with her message after she consulted with experts and listened to the needs of the front liners, the locally stranded individuals or LSI’s and other communities.
She also laid down the numbers on the COVID-19 situation in the country, which local medical practitioners and data analysts described as not faring better.
“Sa puntong ito, halos isang buwan na na mahigit isang libo bawat araw ang dagdag sa mga COVID positive cases ng bansa. Halos magdadalawang libo na rin ang pumanaw, bukod pa sa napakaraming naospital, naubusan ng ipon, nawalan ng trabaho, o nakakaranas ng paghihirap at pangamba sa mga panahong ito. Mahigit limang buwan na ang lumilipas mula nang naiulat ang unang kaso ng COVID-19 sa ating bansa,” Robredo said.
She stressed the importance of the standard procedure the World Health Organization recommended to countries affected with the deadly pathogen, which was also the subject of public outcry to the government since March—mass testing, contact tracing, isolation and treatment.
She then laid out suggestions or steps on what government agencies should execute in the succeeding months from solving the Department of Health’s data discrepancies, fast-tracking the provisions of financial assistance and prioritizing the health care system, the facilities and the workers.
Throughout her address, Robredo emphasized the importance of conducting studies such as a risk assessment study before implementing new policies or directives to the public.
She believed that once the government manages to control the virus, other aspects of the economy will fall into place as well, citing similar strategies done by countries that claimed success in the battle against COVID-19.
South Korea, Vietnam, Taiwan and New Zealand were mentioned in her statement.
Before the video ended, Robredo expressed hope that Filipinos are strong, smart and resourceful enough to survive the pandemic with the help of the government.
“Malinaw sa akin, hindi pasaway ang Pilipino, kundi laging handang tumulong sa kapwa. Hindi inutil ang Pilipino, kundi may tapang at talino na humarap sa anumang hamon. Hindi talunan ang Pilipino. At tiyak na magtatagumpay tayo laban sa pandemyang ito. Uulitin ko: Kinaya na natin ang marami pang ibang hamon, at kakayanin natin ito,” she said.