MANILA – Malacañang on Wednesday shrugged off the remark made by Vice President Leni Robredo that the national government has “no system in place” in its coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) response.
In an interview over CNN Philippines’ The Source, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said he did not expect Robredo, as “leader of the opposition” to say anything positive about the Duterte administration.
“She’s entitled to her opinion. Of course, as the leader of the opposition, we don’t expect anything positive about this administration from her. We’ve accepted that. I think people have accepted that,” he said.
Despite criticism from the opposition, Roque pointed out that supporters of the President continue to trust the administration’s ability to control the country’s Covid-19 situation.
“She can say all the negative things about the administration but people still support the President,” he said.
Robredo earlier emphasized that firing Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, who leads the government’s Covid-19 response, would not change much because it is the system itself which is problematic.
“Our problem is so much bigger than Secretary Duque. For me, the problem really is with the national government appearing to have no system in place,” she said.
She claimed that after more than six months into the lockdown, “no cohesive plan” was crafted.
Roque defended his decision to give the country’s fight against Covid-19 a passing mark of 85 percent for having the “best testing policy” in Asia.
He earlier said the government scored a passing mark because it was able to prevent the dire predictions of Covid-19 infections from becoming a reality.
“The disease will continue to spread until we find a vaccine or antidote but what is important is you look at the deaths. Why are we scared of pandemics? Because we could die of it. But how many are dying? It’s 1.7 percent. What this is showing is that we know how to take care of those who get sick. We’re also avoiding to a large extent the further spread of the disease,” he said.
According to Roque, the country has successfully improved its healthcare capacity and is doing “a good job” despite having limited resources compared to those in wealthier and more developed countries.
He cited a New York Times report titled “Coronavirus Map: Tracking the Global Outbreak” as having recognized the Philippines as one of the counties where new cases of Covid-19 are “lower and staying low.”
However, Roque also acknowledged the need to improve the country’s tracing capacity by augmenting its tracing workforce.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government earlier announced its plan to hire and train at least 50,000 more contract tracers following the signing into law of the “Bayanihan to Recover as One Act” or Bayanihan 2.
As of Tuesday, there are a total of 269,407 confirmed Covid-19 cases in the country, with only 57,392 active cases, 207,532 recoveries, and 4,663 deaths. (PNA)