PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte’s administration is taking appropriate measures to defeat the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) that continues to be a threat to the country, Malacañang said on Thursday.
In a virtual press briefing aired on state-run PTV-4, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the government is doubling its efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19 in the country at the soonest time possible.
“So sa tingin ko po, tama ang mga hakbang na ginawa natin although we strive better at tignan natin kung meron pang mga bagong istratehiya,” Roque said.
Roque issued the statement in response to Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo’s claim that the government has lapses in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic due to lack of sense of urgency.
In an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel, Robredo said the government failed to “act urgently” at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Robredo added that the Philippines is lagging behind the virus-hit countries that imposed effective measures to fight Covid-19.
“Nararamdaman natin ngayon ‘yung mga gap kasi naging complacent tayo (We are feeling the gaps now because we were complacent),” she said. “Hanggang ngayon, marami pa tayong kina-catch up instead of sumasabay na tayo sa experiences ng iba.”
Refuting Robredo’s claim, Roque said the government’s quarantine rules are “effective” in arresting the further spread of Covid-19.
Roque stressed that compared to other virus-hit nations, the Philippines has recorded a lower number of Covid-19 cases and death toll.
As of June 24, the Philippines has reported a total of 32,295 confirmed Covid-19 cases, with 8,656 recoveries and 1,204 deaths.
Had the government failed to act promptly, millions of people in the country would have acquired Covid-19 and over 200,000 would have died, Roque said.
“I think it has been effective because 32,000 cases [are] not too bad compared to the hundreds of thousands that other countries have recorded, and 1,000 deaths, although talagang nakakalungkot, ay small in comparison to the death rates of other countries,” Roque said.
Roque expressed hope that while other countries are struggling in fighting Covid-19, the government would be able to stop the Covid-19 transmission in the Philippines as soon as possible.
“Buong mundo po,” he said.
Roque also reiterated that extending Duterte’s special powers would be advantageous to the country.
He made the remarks as Republic Act (RA) 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, which grants Duterte emergency powers to fight Covid-19, expired Thursday.
Roque emphasized that Duterte can purchase medical equipment and realign funds for Covid-19 response sans “normal customary restrictions” because of the temporary special powers granted to him to stop the pandemic.
“So ‘yun po ‘yung dahilan kung bakit nagnanais tayo ng extension dahil hindi po natin alam kung ano ang mangyayari sa mga susunod na buwan,” he said. PNA