Sen. Leila M. de Lima’s Dispatch from Crame No. 766 Step Aside Duterte!: A Reaction to Duterte’s April 6 Public Address


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Mr. Duterte is late to the game. We are now dealing with a few months’ worth of administration-imposed handicap.

The address last night was made by someone who is just recently finding out what COVID-19 is, how it spreads, and how it affects our economy. Pagkatapos ng ilang buwang pananalasa ng COVID-19, mukhang ngayon pa lang nahihimasmasan si G. Duterte.

Our campaign against COVID-19 has been largely driven by efforts outside the traditional government structure. The private sector, as well as government officials performing beyond their statutory roles, have been working round-the-clock to tide our country over until our administration finally gets its act together. But it appears that that time may not come.

What we saw or heard last night appeared to be a hint that the administration will fall way short of what our country will need as we continue to wait for the so-called “flattening of the curve.” Mr. Duterte tried to sell the COVID-19 pandemic as something that caught the world scrambling for solutions. Granted, countries like US, UK, Italy, Iran and Spain suffer catastrophic losses. But what he failed to highlight was how intelligent and decisive leadership in countries like Germany, Singapore, South Korea and Vietnam made all the difference.

Like the World Health Organization (WHO) leadership, Mr. Duterte bet our lives on Chinese geopolitics. Pinabayaan nilang malubog tayo sa delubyong ito dahil lamang ayaw nilang magalit sa kanila ang China. Dahil laging naghihintay sa direksyon ng China, late na ang Pilipinas na nag travel ban, huling-huli na ang ating mga programang pang responde, at pinalampas natin ang pagkakataon na matuto sa best practices ng Taiwan.

Mr. Duterte would do well to stay out of the way and to stop waiting on China. Both of them are obstacles to our ongoing campaign. We are pushing through in spite of them, not because of them.

Malalampasan natin ito. At magtatagumpay tayo. May the Good Lord bless us all.

(Access the handwritten copy of Dispatch from Crame No. 766, here:

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