MANILA – Malacañang on Friday disputed the claim about the supposed failure of the government to handle the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic in the country.

In a virtual presser aired on state-run PTV-4, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the government never underestimated the threat posed by Covid-19.

“Wala po tayong ginagawang pagmamaliit sa banta ng Covid-19… So wala po tayong pagkukulang in terms of our reaction (We never belittled the Covid-19 threat… So we have no shortcoming in terms of our reaction),” Nograles said.

ACT-CIS Teachers Party-list Rep. France Castro on Thursday attributed the rise in Covid-19 cases to the government’s alleged incompetence.

Nograles, however, said the government was, in fact, quick to act on the health crisis, contrary to the supposed inadequate response to Covid-19.

He cited that the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon and the nationwide declaration of public health emergency and state of calamity were among the government’s drastic steps to contain Covid-19.

Had the government failed to impose measures against the new pathogen, Covid-19 infections in the country could have reached 75,000, as projected by the World Health Organization (WHO), Nograles said.

”So palagay ko, wala naming pagkukulang po ang pamahalaan (So I believe there are no government lapses),” Nograles said. “We’re already doing everything.”

More recoveries, fewer deaths

The Philippines has reported 5,660 confirmed Covid-19 infections, with 362 deaths and 435 recoveries.

Nograles said the government is focused on ensuring that more Covid-19 patients in the country will recover from the highly-contagious disease.

“We hope to sustain the trends of more recoveries, fewer deaths,” he said.

The Philippines is now using the terms “suspect,” “probable,” and “confirmed” for Covid-19 cases.

The persons under monitoring (PUMs), or those asymptomatic despite exposure to Covid-19, are no longer in the new classification.

Nograles, however, noted that the government went beyond the policies of WHO, as it decided to still include PUMs in the mass testing for Covid-19.

“The WHO only requires us to report PUIs, but we made a decision na ire-retain natin yung PUM kasi ang gusto nating mangyari, kahit yung mga PUM, ite-test din po natin (to retain PUMs because we also want them to get tested), which is over and beyond the requirements of WHO,” he said. (PNA)

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