Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has deplored the reactive and weak leadership of Mr. Duterte which resulted to the government’s failure to take the critical steps towards managing the COVID-19 pandemic.
De Lima said the problems that the country is facing, including schools openings, reported overpriced Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and the OFW crisis, could have been avoided with a systematic mass testing plan.
“How can we win the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic with such a reactive governance?” she asked in her Dispatch from Crame No. 803
“In his latest address, Mr. Duterte just reacted to the issues. They explained why the PPEs are so expensive. He ordered the forced return of OFWs to their hometown. Then he guaranteed that schools will not open without COVID-19 vaccine,” she said.
For one, De Lima said the problem with the overpriced PPEs could have been avoided if the Department of Health was transparent with the specification and the negotiations in the first place.
De Lima likewise pointed out that the problems with schools opening and the OFW crisis could have been avoided with a systematic mass testing plan, which the government failed to prioritize.
“The fears surrounding these issues are borne of uncertainty. Dahil wala tayong maayos na mass testing program, hindi alam ng mga LGU kung sino ang ligtas na puwedeng tanggapin. Hindi rin alam ng mga magulang kung anong mga paaralan ang ligtas para sa kanilang anak,” she said.
“If the administration prioritized the mass testing program, we could have contained the COVID-19 earlier and the fears would have been less founded,” she added.
Duterte recently announced that he would not allow students to go back to school until a vaccine for COVID-19 becomes available, which was later contradicted by his spokesman Harry Roque confirming that the school year opening will push through in August.
Duterte also ordered labor officials to rush the release of COVID-19 test results of over 24,000 returning OFWs languishing in quarantine facilities for almost two months.
The lady Senator from Bicol said the issue with the OFWs is unforgivable negligence in the part of the government because those who were quarantined for a long period of time may have suffered depression and other ailments due to government neglect.
“This is absolutely unacceptable. Must we let our people suffer before we do anything?! Enough of this slow, reactive, and weak leadership. Nasaan na ang tapang at malasakit? Nasaan ang sinasabing pagbabago?” she asked. (30)