The team of Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday posted updates on the office’s response operations towards the novel coronavirus pandemic after presidential spokesperson Harry Roque aired his concerns on her public address that aired Monday.
Some of her office’s initiatives include local production of personal protective equipment (PPE) suits for medical frontliners, relief assistance to different communities, giving assistance to locally-stranded individuals (LSIs) and gadget donation drives for teachers and students.
The report also contained the total amount that her office has spent on the different COVID-19-related initiatives they launched in the past months.
Robredo admitted that while the office’s resources are limited, it was the “wellspring of generosity, of willingness and of heart” of Filipinos that made it possible to achieve such efforts.
“Maraming, maraming salamat po sa bawat isang nakikiisa sa pagsuporta sa ating magigiting na frontliners, at sa pag-akay sa ating mga kababayan na nangangailangan. Tunay nga na tayo ang nagdadala ng pag-asa sa isa’t isa,” she said on Facebook.
[MESSAGE FROM VICE PRESIDENT LENI ROBREDO]Today, we share with you another report on our office’s COVID-19 Response…
Roque vs. Robredo
The report of her office came the day Roque responded to her assessment as aired on her public address where she said that the Duterte administration does not appear to have a clear direction in terms of handling the public health crisis.
“How can there be confidence when we are unsure of where funds are going? How can there be confidence when every time the leadership holds a press conference, clarity is in short supply? Clearly, the people are willing to man the oars; what we need is someone to point us towards the proper direction. Someone to steer the ship of state,” Robredo said, as quoted by reports.
“Many hold a sentiment that is not difficult to understand: It’s as if no one is at the helm, no direction, no clear horizon as to when and how this pandemic will be addressed,” she added.
Roque in his Thursday press briefing aired a rebuttal and said that he “seriously disagrees” with the second highest-ranking official.
“Tingan po natin ang napakababang mortality rate na sinasabi ko na. Tingan po natin ‘yung mga karagdagang capacity na binuo natin para nga po mabigyan ng kinakaulang atensiyon iyong mga magkakasakit,” Roque said.
“Nakikita naman po natin na karamihan ng mga nagkakasakit ay asymptomatic o din naman kaya ay mild. So, ang pinaghahandaan po natin iyong mga magkakasakit ng severe at critical,” he added.
“So, hindi po totoo na hindi sapat ang ating response. Siguro madali pong magpula dahil hindi tayo ang nasa gitna ng pandemya at hindi tayo ang inaasahang gumalaw,” Roque further said.
PH still top spot in SEA
Some Filipinos were not amused with his remarks, pointing out that the Philippines being on the top spot of the countries with the most number COVID-19 cases in the Southeast Asian region is an indication of the government’s supposed lack of response.
“Lol (laughing out loud). Mortality rate na naman ang binida. How about the confirmed cases na umabot na sa 200k,” a Twitter user in response to Roque’s briefing.
“Kung hindi nagku-kulang, ba’t and dami pa ding cases???” questioned another online user.
“The very fact that we are number 1 in (Southeast) Asia when it comes to COVID-19 cases says it all Roque,” another Twitter user pointed out.
Lawyer Barry Gutierrez, Robredo’s spokesperson, likewise pointed out the high number of COVID-19 cases, as well as the high number of LSIs and people being unemployed or losing their jobs in the country.
“Ito ba ang itsura ng ‘sapat na response?’ Ang hirap talagang tulungan ang ayaw man lang tanggapin na may problema,” he tweeted.
Gutierrez also shared Robredo’s latest report of her office’s initiatives and added as a response to Roque, “Ito ba ang itsura ng ‘namumulitika lang at hindi tumutulong?'”
“Umayos naman kayo, please. Ang daming umaasa. Ang dami ring handang tumulong. Makinig din sana kahit minsan. Hindi na ito tungkol sa politika. Hindi na ito nakakatawa. Pakiusap lang,” he said.
Robredo’s office has been stepping up in terms of helping the government in the COVID-19 pandemic since mid-March.
Meanwhile, the Philippines, according to ABS-CBN data analyst Edson Guido, has recently “surpassed” both the 100,000 and 200,000 mark of COVID-19 cases in August as of Wednesday.
As of Friday, there are a total of 209,544 COVID-19 cases in the country.
The Palace on Monday highlighted the implementation of the Coordinated Operations to Defeat Pandemic or CODE protocol and the operation of the One Hospital Command as parts of the government’s strategy to defeat COVID-19.
One of the objectives of the CODE protocol is to eliminate clusters of COVID-19 cases in identified areas through house-to-house visits for symptoms assessment and swab testing those with symptoms, among others.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that the CODE Teams have completed the initial house-to-house visits in identified priority local government units (LGU) on Metro Manila, Laguna, Cavite, Rizal and Bulacan.
The One Hospital Command, meanwhile, acts as a health facility referral system that connects patients to available quarantine facilities and hospitals.
The center has received some 1,813 calls and some of its 1,131 cases have been resolved.