Solon seeks competent guide to combat COVID-19

Robert Ace Barbers
Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers

“THIS is why we are in serious trouble.” 

This was the reaction of Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers to the claim of Health Sec. Francisco Duque that we have “flattened the curve” since April. 

“If we are to survive this pandemic, we need a competent guide. Sadly, the Department of Health under the watch of Secretary Duque has lost all credibility with his repeated pronouncements that have no basis and contrary to facts, dismissed by his fellow secretaries and officials and amounted to nothing but a big joke. In due time, President Duterte will surely find a competent replacement, if only to bring us back on track and restore the credibility of our health department,” Barbers said.

Barbers also pointed out that no less than the World Health Organization (WHO) has commented on the lapses in the government’s strategy against the virus.

He said that this comment of WHO did not come as a surprise considering that the head of the Health department has been measured, weighed and found wanting by no less than the Senators who subsequently demanded his resignation.

In April, a resolution signed by at least 14 Senators sought Duque’s resignation for his “failure of leadership, negligence, lack of foresight and inefficiency” among others. 

Recently, the Ombudsman announced an investigation on the alleged overpriced purchase of test kits by the DOH, and other issues. 

“It is time we put someone who, like Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion and possesses deep knowledge and understanding of his responsibilities,” Barbers said. 

Meanwhilw, Duque turned to Twitter to clarify his remarks , switching to a different term: "bent." 

"This means we bent the curve in April after the March ECQ but we are seeing an increase in cases due to the expanded testing capacity and community transmission as we allow movement of people," the Health chief said. 

He added that this was expected and was the experience of foreign countries which have revived business activities.