‘More can be done than just wait for vaccine’

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‘More can be done than just wait for vaccine’

Helen Flores

(The Philippine Star) – September 23, 2020 – 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — There is more to do in the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic than just wait for a vaccine to become available and spray pesticide over the country, Vice President Leni Robredo said.

Robredo made the statement on Monday night after President Duterte lashed out at her for continuously criticizing the supposed inefficiency in his administration’s COVID-19 response more than six months into the community quarantine.

“Watched the regular Monday press con tonight. I can’t help but have my takeaways. I think it’s not enough that just because you have a hospital, bed and a funeral parlor, all we have to do is wait for a vaccine,” Robredo wrote in her personal Facebook page shortly after Duterte delivered his pre-recorded public address.

She stressed there is a need to suppress the pandemic through medical and non-medical interventions.

The Vice President said the government must also work to address humanitarian emergencies brought by the COVID-19 crisis such as poverty, hunger, unemployment and mental distress.

Millions of Filipinos, especially those belonging to the poorest sector, have lost their jobs since the government imposed lockdowns in March to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Robredo also called for the “restructuring” of public and private finances and “rebuilding” of the economy in an “inclusive, resilient and sustainable way.”

“We cannot solve (the pandemic) by spraying pesticide over Manila from an airplane,” she said, ending her post with a smiling emoji.

Robredo has been giving recommendations to the government to help revive the economy.

Among these was the provision of a P5,000 financial subsidy to each of the poorest families as restrictions on the movement of people continued as well as cash assistance to help the micro, small and medium enterprises.

Duterte hit Robredo, a leader of the opposition, saying he did not know what the opposition and his critics still want from the government since the Philippines has hospitals, hospital beds and morgues to cope with the pandemic.

“They said we are not doing enough. What can we do with the germ that is flying around? It’s the microbe that cannot be controlled by anyone,” the President said.

Duterte maintained that only a vaccine could solve the health crisis.