MANILA – Even though the government is “far from being perfect,” it is exhausting all efforts to defeat the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), Malacañang said on Thursday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque reassured the public that President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration is doing its best to address the Covid-19 pandemic.
Roque’s statement came a day after Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo, in a public address, presented her suggestions to combat and contain the spread of the virus.
In a virtual press conference, he said Robredo’s recommendations would be taken into consideration.
“Hayaan ninyo po, kung anuman ‘yung puna niyo, eh sa susunod po, a-address-in natin. At ang sinabi naman po ng Pangulo, we are far from being perfect pero ang sinigurado po natin, makatulong po tayo sa ating kapwa (Don’t worry, whatever your comments, we will address them. The President said we are far from being perfect but we are making sure the people are getting help from us),” Roque said.
On Wednesday, Robredo presented new proposals on how to fight Covid-19.
Among them are fast-tracking of data gathering and the validation process to control the spread of the disease in the country.
Roque, however, told Robredo that concerns over data collection and validations have already been addressed by the Department of Health.
He also responded to Robredo’s call for a “communications campaign” to ensure that Filipinos are getting the correct information.
“Doon naman po sa information dissemination, tatlong beses po ang ating press briefing. Umiikot din po ako sa mga network para magpaliwanang kung wala pong press briefing (With regard to information dissemination, we are holding press briefings three times a week. I am also entertaining interviews from other networks whenever there is no press briefing),” Roque said.
He further cited the “Laging Handa” program aired on state-run PTV-4 daily to keep the public updated about the government’s Covid-19 response.
Robredo also stressed the need to address the Covid-19 testing backlogs but Roque said the turnaround time for reporting Covid-19 test results is now two to three days.
“Hindi po ito himala. Bumilis ang ating turnaround time ng testing dahil sa increased (laboratory) capacity at ‘yung steady supply ng mga kinakailangan na test kits at saka po sa automation. Ito po ang dahilan (This is not a miracle. The increased laboratory capacity and steady supply of test kits are the reasons why our turnaround time for a test is faster),” he said.
Robredo also told the Duterte government to push for more organized programs for locally stranded individuals (LSIs).
Roque, however, explained that LSIs had encountered problems because most of them badly wanted to return to their respective homes.
“Dahil atat na atat nang makauwi, sinabihan ‘yung ibang mga kababayan nila na naging dahilan na talagang napakadaming dumating na hindi inaasahan ng mga organizer (Many wanted to go back home and they told others about the program, surprising organizers about the sudden influx of LSIs),” he said. “Pero kung tatanungin ninyo ‘yung mga nakauwi na sa ngayon, eh talaga naman pong pasalamat sila sa ating Pangulo (But if you ask those who were able to return home, they are truly thankful to the President).”
Robredo also called for the creation of programs and modules to help teachers and parents prepare for the shift to distance learning and homeschooling amid the pandemic.
Roque assured Robredo that the government, through the Department of Education (DepEd), is ready for the school opening in August.
“Hindi lamang po online ang delivery mode ng ating blended learning. Karamihan po sa mga magulang ay pinili ang offline modular system ayon sa enrollment form survey na isinagawa po ng DepEd (Our delivery mode for blended learning is not just online. Majority of the parents chose the offline modular system, based on the enrollment form survey conducted by DepEd),” he said.
Before addressing the nation on Wednesday, Robredo sent a letter to Malacañang, urging the Duterte government to keep the public informed about the country’s fight against Covid-19, publish an epidemic curve, ensure the proper use of budget to address the pandemic, address transport issues, restart the economy, and allow education to continue.
Malacañang earlier said Robredo’s suggestions have already been done by the government. (PNA)