The most followed doctor on Philippine Facebook who is running for vice president, Willie Ong, said that for the mental health's sake, he would lessen frequency of the release of COVID data to focus instead on testing and measures to slow the spread of the virus.
Ong, who is the running mate of Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, said he would push for case numbers to be released every three days instead of daily.
"Ayoko kayo araw-araw check nang check, nako tumaas ba ang kaso? Bumaba ba ang kaso? Gagawin natin siguro every three days lang. Ngayon medyo tumataas pero relax lang, enjoy kayo, matulog nang maayos, dasal lang. Okay lang 'yang numbers pero konting ingat," he said when asked by the media about his plans to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
"'Di ko kayo ii-stress, itutuloy 'yung trabaho ninyo. Marami pa tayong magagawa sa COVID."
Ong, who gives free medical advice to 16 million Facebook followers, underscored the importance of free COVID-19 testing.
"Bakit napakahalaga ng testing? 'Pag nalaman n'ya na positive siya, hindi na siya manghahawa, 'di na siya papasok, 'di na siya in denial na ubo-ubo lang ito, balewala ito kasi alam n'yang positive," he said.
Ong said he would prioritize the needs of health workers who have been on the pandemic frontlines for nearly two years.
"Number one, 'yung health workers napakahalaga. Maraming ospital, maraming bed kaya lang demoralized ang health workers, doctor and nurses, 'yung suweldo nila, 'yung allowance," he said.
Ong said he was looking into second-generation COVID-19 vaccines which can stop the spread of the hyper contagious Delta variant. Like Moreno, he also called for more COVID-19 medicines remdesivir and tocilizumab.
"Itong mga lockdown, no lockdown? Short term e. Face shield, no face shield? Short term. Vaccine, gamot, at prevention ang habol natin."
He said he would address three priority areas in health: COVID-19, non-COVID diseases, and hunger."Dapat lahat mababa," he said.