Wrong response

"Why have things taken a turn for the worse?"



The Philippines has now the distinction of being the Southeast Asian country with the highest number of COVID-19 cases. We have overtaken Indonesia – it’s a record of which we should not be proud.

I hate to say this, but there must be something terribly wrong with the government’s response to the pandemic. Worse, we are now in recession after the announcement of the 16.5-percent contraction on the gross domestic product for the second quarter.

While our economic managers are still optimistic that we can rebound in a year or two, I do not share their upbeat outlook.

Did President Duterte and the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases lift the Enhanced Community Quarantine too soon? And now, is the two-week Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) enough to stop the surge of COVID-19 cases, or should it be extended to one month?

It is said that the greater mobility of people who went back to work was responsible for the surge in COVID-19 cases. Government must also admit that part of the blame lies on the people because they lacked discipline as they defied guidelines and protocols. But isn’t that the responsibility of the government?

The House of Representatives has just passed a multi-billion stimulus package. Congress too has enacted Bayanihan Act 2 to enable the President to respond more effectively to the crisis.

The President is also about to launch the third SAP or Social Amelioration Program to help Filipinos cope with the pandemic.

The President, as well as the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Department of the Interior and Local Government, should perhaps think of more effective ways to distribute the cash subsidy. The first tranches were distributed with many alleged instances of graft and corruption.

My question is still the same: Is there something terribly wrong with the government's response that we cannot seem to flatten the curve?


The Department of Education has set August 24 as class opening for all public schools.

I think however that the President should reset the date. There are too many complaints from teachers because they do not have the tools to do online teaching.

If the teachers themselves are not ready, why rush the school opening?

While schools in the National Capital Region may have the necessary equipment, how about poor and distant provinces?

As for the plan to allow face-to-face teaching in areas not so affected by the virus, the President and the DepEd should be careful because of COVID-19’s potential effects on students.

I still believe that the government should consider using the radio and television frequencies of ABS-CBN. That would solve the problem in far-off places.


President Duterte says that he is watching the result of the problems at PhilHealth, the country’s health insurer, before he acts on the report of anomalies.

PhilHealth has been associated with so many anomalies. Do those in charge know their jobs at all?

The President should know by now that the theft of government funds is one thing. Incompetence and negligence when it comes to funds aimed at helping people is equally bad, if not worse. The existence of a mafia in PhilHealth could have not been possible if the people heading the agency know their jobs and responsibilities. We have been hearing these for a long time – why hasn’t anything been done? That is not only outright negligence.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know what ails PhilHealth.

Topics: Emil Jurado , Southeast Asia , COVID-19 , Indonesia , Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine , MECQ , Department of Education , PhilHealth
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