Dispatch from Crame No. 772: Sen. Leila M. de Lima’s reaction on the Senate Resolution calling on DOH Sec. Duque to resign


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I agree with my Senate colleagues. “Knowing fully well the danger posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in the beginning of the year,” this administration’s Health Secretary has “failed to put in place the necessary precautionary measures to lessen, if not at all prevent, the impact of this health crisis.”

However, primary responsibility for the failure of leadership and gross neglect of duties in our COVID-19 campaign rests not on Sec. Duque but on Mr. Duterte.

“The buck stops, here”, goes the phrase popularized by former US President Harry Truman. The chain of accountability lies in the head of government.

Without his pro-China principal’s blessing, if not explicit guidance, Sec. Duque could not have brassily rejected the then clear option (as of late Jan. 2020) of banning flights to and from China, warning of its repercussions on PH-China relations.

The dismal and catch-up government response to and preparation for the COVID-19 crisis can only be attributable to the Office of the President. It is not only the DOH who is responsible for our efforts against COVID-19, it is the whole government.

The DFA should have insisted on an early travel ban. The DSWD should have updated the list of vulnerable households in need of assistance. The DOTr should have prepared transportation protocols that allow social or physical distancing and transportation support for essential personnel. The DILG should have studied possible isolation centers per LGU. The DA should have increased our bufferstock once the effect of COVID-19 in Asia became apparent, as well as mapped the distribution lines to ensure the continuous supply of food. These departments do not answer to Sec. Duque. They report to Mr. Duterte.

Mr. Duterte’s late-night addresses have not been inspiring confidence on our government’s program on the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of understanding the current measures implemented by the government, our country has been witness to the continuous ramblings of an old man barely in touch with reality, and hardly aware of what’s required of the situation.

The administration has asked our people to stay home but has failed to institute a timely mass testing program which would have given us a better picture of the gains of the quarantine. Instead of our people seeing how they are helping by staying at home, they are constantly threatened by imprisonment or bodily harm by Mr. Duterte. Maling-mali ito.

Now, the new spokesperson has the gall to blame the pandemic on our citizens. They should look at themselves.

Sa pamamahalang walang giya, nawawalan ng gana ang bansa. Sa pamumunong palpak, lahat tayo ay babagsak. Managot ang dapat managot.

(Access the handwritten copy of Dispatch from Crame No. 772, here: https://issuu.com/senatorleilam.delima/docs/dispatch_772)

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