Is the Philippines already on the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic as Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III put it?
One of the government officials who reacted to this was Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año.
In a television interview held earlier today, May 21, 2020, Secretary Año told GMA’s Unang Hirit that the developing cases are still part of the first wave.
“Para sa akin kasi, parang itong bungang ito ay part pa magmula nang magsimula tayo.
“At katulad ng ibang country na ang pinaghahandaan natin ay ang susunod na wave.”
He added that the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) is yet to discuss the reported "second wave" at their next meeting.
Before this, Senators Kiko Pangilinan and Risa Hontiveros also expressed their doubts about Duque's pronouncement.
In a separate interview, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea threw in, “Alam mo, hindi pronouncement iyan ng Presidente. Kailan ba lumabas iyang second wave? That, we will have to see because as far as I know, wala pa tayo sa second wave.”
In his regular Palace briefing this morning, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque denied that the cabinet members are in disarray over the said pronouncement.
He said Duque might have a “different opinion,” but based on what President Rodrigo Duterte knows: the government has been doing its best to avoid a second of the deadly virus.
Roque said, “Nagsalita po ang Presidente at pinaninindigan po natin ang sinabi ng Presidente, kinakailangan gumawa pa rin tayo ng mga hakbang upang maiwasan ang second wave.
“Whether be it a wavelet or a first wave, ang katunayan naman po, ang importante, maiwasan natin ang second wave na mas maraming kasong magkakasakit.”
Roque also apologized to the public for the conflicting remarks from cabinet members.
"Nagpapaumanhin po kami kung kayo ay naalarma, pero ang katunayan po, ang siyensya naman po at importante ang pagbasa sa mga waves para alam natin ang gagawin na response.”
When asked if there’s a discord among top officials of the government, Roque answered: "Hindi naman po siguro. Medyo sintunado lang siguro ang ang isa pero OK naman po ang orchestra.”
Subsequently, DOH, through Beverly Ho, special assistant to the health secretary, apologized: “We apologize for the confusion that this has caused.
"But we hope that this does not in any way distract us from what we really need to do to change the course of this pandemic.”
She also underlined that the country is still “in the first wave driven by local community transmission.”