Former Speaker and Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano on Wednesday urged the Duterte administration to come up with a clear battle plan against the COVID-19 crisis, saying the government lacks foresight to win the battle against the pandemic.
He says the most effective strategy in fighting the COVID-19 crisis is the combination of direct stimulus, economic stimulus and a post-pandemic roadmap.
Cayetano says the virus needs to be handled with foresight.
“It has to be anticipated. If this were boxing, we would have to have a heavy 1-2-3 combination,” Cayetano said at the sidelines of the city government’s second round of distribution of emergency cash subsidy to 2,500 residents of Taguig.
He says directly providing people with cash aid will get the country’s economy back up and running while a larger economic stimulus with various financing strategies is in the pipeline.
The third most important action of the national government, Cayetano says, is to have a “blueprint” that will outline its vision for the Philippines in the next few years, particularly its concrete plans for the different sectors.
He says such predictability will allow businesses and enterprises to identify where to invest next.
“Every citizen should know what COVID is, how to fight it and what the battle plan is... We shouldn’t be waiting for things to happen and be told ‘Sorry, we were caught by surprise,” Cayetano said.
He says because the virus is evolving rapidly, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, which develops the country’s plan to deal with the pandemic, must be “one step ahead” by crafting a battle plan instead of being “too reactive.
“Taguig allocated P300 million for assistance in case something happens this year. So why didn’t we place something like that in the 2021 national budget? We all knew a sudden surge could happen again.
They said it was unexpected—yes, but shouldn’t we be expecting the unexpected during a crisis?”
The former Speaker also said the resurgence of COVID-19 cases in the country could have been prevented had the concerned agencies carried out the provisions under Bayanihan 1 and 2.
“The problem is we act only when the problem becomes too heavy. If we had built field hospitals last October, November, December and
January, then the ones we have wouldn’t be full now. The problem is we are building now that the hospitals are full,” Cayetano said.