Robredo: Set specific targets, provide more aid to LGUs vs COVID-19

29-Sep-2020 Intellasia | JakartaPost | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Vice President Leni Robredo stressed the need for the government to set specific and achievable goals and give additional support to cities and municipalities to suppress the spread of the new coronavirus even without a vaccine.

In a recorded speech released Monday afternoon, Robredo laid down additional suggestions on combating the spread of COVID-19, which has infected over 307,000 people in the country.

She cited the study of The Lancet COVID-19 Commission, which ranked the Philippines 66th out of 91 countries in terms of suppressing the spread of the coronavirus disease. The study noted that 19 countries10 of which are in Asia Pacificwere able to suppress successfully the virus transmission.

“It’s clear to me what binds them together: They believe in data, in science, in experts; they are open to knowledge; they planned well; the actions of their governments are quick and coordinated. They are honest in dealing with their people. They set aside politics. They worked jointly,” Robredo said in Filipino.

“I believe in the good intention of our government, including those in top positions. But given the gravity of what we are facing, good intentions are not enough. We need strategic and organised action,” she also said.

Presidential spokesperon Harry Roque last week challenged Robredo to suggest solutions to the government beyond waiting for China, Russia or the US to develop a vaccine for COVID-19. The president’s spokesperson has repeatedly played down the vice president’s suggestions, saying these are already being done.

The vice president said the country can emulate the best practices of its neighbours that have successfully limited the spread of the virus.

‘SMART’ goals

At the top of her recommendations is for the government to set “specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based” goals.

Robredo said it is not difficult to set these goals. For example, the government can aim to bring down the country’s positivity rate to below 5 percentthe benchmark set by the World Health Organizationand ensure that the reproduction rate of the virus will not exceed 1.

The country’s positivity rate or the percentage of people who test positive for COVID-19 out of the total number of persons tested stands at 10.32%. Meanwhile, the country’s reproduction number or the average number of new infections generated by each COVID-19 case was at 1.0001.

“It is not hard to have monitoring mechanisms for these and it is not too much to ask that the public is given regular updates relative to these goals,” Robredo said in Filipino.

Other specific goals can be set for areas where there is a higher risk of infection because of crowding, she also said.

The vice president also called on the national government to provide additional to local government units.

She said the local government fund must be given to cities and municipalities strategically, depending on the situation in their jurisdictions. She also said that intensified safety guidelines and protocols must be enforced in high-risk areas.

“We rely on them primarily now, that’s why we should keep a close watch on them and improve their capabilities and give them more support,” Robredo said.

‘Don’t wait for vaccine’

For President Rodrigo Duterte, the country’s return to normalcy rests on a COVID-19 vaccine.

But Robredo reiterated that waiting for a vaccine against COVID-19which can take months or even years to be developedis not enough.

“As early as now, we need to prepare for the massive deployment of the COVID-19 vaccine once it becomes available. The vaccination of millions of Filipinos is seriousit needs a plan, infrastructure and mechanism that would ensure all barangay health units will be able to administer immunisation,” she said.

President Duterte, in his pre-recorded addresses, has mentioned that vaccination will be done at police stations across the country.

She also said that the P2.5 billion allotted for vaccine procurement is not enough.

“According to the DOH, this will only be enough for 3.8 million people. What about the rest of the 100 million? As early as now, we need to focus and prepare for the financial and other needs for the vaccine,” she said.

The vice president also called on government to provide more assistance to micro, small and medium enterprises badly affected by the pandemic and help jobless Filipinos look for new opportunities that match their skills.

Robredo has made several suggestions as the government struggles to contain the health crisis but government officials, including Duterte, dismissed these and even accused her of try to get people angry at the government.

The chief executive is set to address the nation later Monday night.


Category: Philippines

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