Wearing a mask while waiting for a vaccine is not enough to fight the coronavirus pandemic, Vice President Leni Robredo said in response to President Rodrigo Duterte's midnight address to the nation. At one point, the exchange tackled pesticide use.
Duterte called out Robredo a couple of times in the late Monday broadcast, as he defended his government's response to COVID-19. He also deflected criticism against Manila Bay's white sand makeover, saying there was no pleasing his opponents.
The two highest officials in the lands, also the figureheads of the country's two main political blocs, had repeatedly clashed over Malacañang's handling of the pandemic, among many issues. On Monday, Duterte dared Robredo to just spray the country with pesticide from a plane to kill SARS-CoV-2.
Robredo said she couldn't help but watch the President's speech. "Di ko matiis magkaroon ng takeaways. Hindi yata sapat na basta may ospital, kama at punerarya, ang kailangan nalang gawin ay maghintay ng vaccine (I can't help but have some takeaways. It's not enough that just because we have hospitals, beds and funeral parlors, we will just wait for a vaccine)."
Watched the regular Monday Presscon tonight.— Leni Robredo (@lenirobredo) September 21, 2020
Di ko matiis magkaroon ng takeaways. Hindi yata sapat na basta may ospital, kama at punerarya, ang kailangan nalang gawin ay maghintay ng vaccine.
Eto po yung mga main challenges na identified ngayon at kailangan natin pagtulungan: pic.twitter.com/nMb01qjZcI
The government must deploy medical and non-medical interventions; address hunger, unemployment and mental distress; restructure public finances; and rebuild the economy in a resilient way, the vice president said.
"Yung number 1 po, hindi ma sosolusyunan sa pag spray ng pesticide sa Manila galing sa eroplano (Number one can't be solved by spraying Manila with pesticide from an airplane)," she said.
Duterte singled out Robredo in his speech Monday night. "If you really want to do away with COVID, sprayan natin itong Pilipinas o Manila ng pesticide galing sa eroplano para sa lahat (If you really want to do away with COVID, let's spray the entire Philippines or Manila with pesticide from an airplane)."
"The only thing we can do really is wear a mask, wear a face mask and that’s it. Wait for the vaccine," he said.
Last week, Duterte extended the State of Calamity in the entire Philippines by one year until September 2021. This will enable him to tap calamity funds, impose price freezes and price caps and offer interest-free loans.
The President also heeded the call of medical frontliners to keep the one-meter physical distancing requirement in public transport, overriding plans to reduce it to 0.75 meter.