Vice President Leni Robredo said Monday that the Philippines, like its Southeast Asian neighbors, could suppress the coronavirus pandemic, as she offered fresh suggestions for the government to succeed.
The Philippines ranked 66th out of 91 countries in terms of success in responding to COVID-19, based on a study by the world's premier health publication, Lancet Journal, Robredo said. Ten of the 19 countries who "successfully suppressed" the virus are in Southeast Asia, she said.
Robredo spoke to the nation on Facebook hours ahead of President Rodrigo Duterte's weekly address, where he could announce fresh quarantine classifications for the entire country in October.
"Ididiin ko: Nagtagumpay laban sa virus ang labingsiyam na bansa, kabilang na ang sampu sa ating mga kapitbahay, kahit wala pang gamot, at kahit wala pang bakuna," she said.
"Humaharap ako sa inyo ngayon dahil naniniwala akong kaya din natin ito (I stand before you today to say that we can do it too)," she said. The Philippines can learn from its neighbors response and see which can be applicable locally.
This is not the time for wrangling between the administration and the opposition, Robredo said. "Ididiin ko: Gusto lang naming tumulong. Ayaw naming mabigo ang gobyerno, dahil kapag nabigo ang gobyerno, tayong mga Pilipino ang magdurusa, tayong mga Pilipino ang magkakasakit at mamamatay," she said.
(Let me stress, I only want to help. I don't want government to fail, because if it does, we Filipinos will suffer. We Filipinos could get sick and die.)
Among Robredo's suggestions:
- Set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based) Goals
- Increase support for local government units
- Widen safety nets for small businessmen
- Help those who lost their jobs because of the pandemic to find new work
- Plan for the widespread deployment of vaccine once it becomes available
"Narinig ko na minsan, 'What binds us together is greater than what drives us apart.” Sa nakaraang anim na buwan, kitang-kita ang katotohanang ito. Naniniwala pa rin ako, nasa puso pa rin ng bawat isa sa atin ang malasakit sa kapwa, ang pagbubukas-loob upang makinig, at ang kakayahang makipagkaisa. Dito nagbubukal ang katiyakan ko: Magtatagumpay tayo sa hamon na ito," she said.