MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration is transparent and is not in “denial” mode when it comes to handling the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, Malacañang said on Saturday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the government is making sure that the public is aware of its achievements and even shortcomings in addressing the Covid-19 crisis.
Roque issued the statement in response to the claim of Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo that the government is currently in “denial” about the lapses in its response against Covid-19.
In a press statement, Roque said Robredo’s latest remarks that the national government is in a state of self-denial or praising its actions are “baseless.”
“We have been as transparent about our lapses as we are about our gains, and as we have said in previous occasions, fighting Covid-19 is a collective effort. It is a whole-of-government approach,” he said.
In an interview with CNN Philippines on Friday, Robredo said the impacts of Covid-19 would have been more manageable, had the government responded immediately before the novel coronavirus grappled the country.
Robredo added that the government could have done more to defeat Covid-19.
The government instead “missed” many of its targets to arrest the further spread of Covid-19 in the country, Robredo claimed.
Looking at glass ‘half-empty’
Roque said it was “unfortunate” that Robredo has engaged in nitpicking anew to criticize the government’s Covid-19 response, despite Duterte’s call to stop finger-pointing amid the pandemic.
“The Executive has no monopoly of good ideas and deeds and we have to stress that the effects of Covid-19 have been unprecedented. No country in the world would proudly announce that it has been prepared to meet the challenges posed by the pandemic,” he said.
He also lamented that Robredo has opted to look at the glass “half-empty” rather than appreciate the Duterte administration’s efforts to combat Covid-19.
“We find the action of the Vice President, which is looking at the glass half-empty — focusing on the shortcomings just to score political brownie points at the expense of the Administration — totally unwarranted,” Roque said.
Roque assured Robredo that the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has been conducting daily meetings to review its policies and guidelines on the implementation of quarantine rules.
“The good and applicable ones are continued while those proven to be ineffective are replaced for better ones. This is evident in the number of times we have amended the guidelines. The Office of the President, too, has been submitting weekly reports to Congress,” he said.
Roque also responded to Robredo’s statement that the information on Duterte’s weekly report to Congress, as well as the President’s public addresses, were not enough.
Roque told Robredo that she could get the “complete details” with the respective government departments, including their bureaus and agencies, which have been communicating to the public through regular briefings, interviews, webinars, and printed reports.
“The Vice President or her research staff should have checked this as well,” he said.
Roque, also acting as IATF-EID spokesperson, said Robredo may also make a request for the information she wanted from the concerned offices in the executive department.
He enjoined Robredo to give “valuable inputs” as he assured her that her “concrete ideas” would be tabled for discussion in future IATF-EID meetings.
“This is how we work for the common good,” Roque said. “We, therefore, welcome inputs from all sectors, including constructive ideas from the political opposition, to improve our delivery of services.“ (PNA)