(June 30, 2020) – President Rodrigo Duterte’s ex-social welfare secretary on Tuesday hit the government’s ‘militaristic’ approach in handling the coronavirus crisis, citing the lack of a mass testing program as well as slow contact tracing efforts.
Speaking to One News’ program “Agenda,” Judy Taguiwalo said government had acted late and was complacent before taking steps to prevent the transmission of the deadly virus.
She called the failure to roll out a mass testing program and missing out the daily screening target as a “major health shortcoming.”
“Stay home has been the call even during the lockdown but mass testing was not really implemented,” she said. “Until now the average test is 14,000 per day when government said by the end of May we should be able to do 30,000 testing.”
Government officials should also put a stop on calling quarantine violators as “pasaway” as she hit the seemingly double standard when it comes to politicians and even the chief of the capital region’s police, Major General Debold Sinas, who figured in a birthday feast in May.
“Sinas has not been disciplined, none of the senators [and] congressmen have been arrested for quarantine breach so you have the double standard justice under this system,” Taguiwalo said.
Duterte’s spokesman Harry Roque Jr. last week denied that government is militarizing its response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Roque said government is only relying on security forces in implementing quarantine protocols.
Duterte has put to task the military and police in carrying out his orders. He has also put retired generals at the helm of the public health crisis, with the latest being his environment secretary Roy Cimatu to oversee the response in Cebu City.
“If you’re going to control COVID, don’t bring people to crowded places,” she said. “But they have to understand that they have done something wrong [so] the measure should be commensurate to community service.”
Virus infections had ballooned to more than 36,000, months since the outbreak in the country.
The further easing of restrictions this June saw the cases doubling from the initial 18,000 at the beginning of the month. Experts have projected the infections could reach to 40,000, a figure not far from what the Philippines has today. (Christian de Lano Deiparine/MM)
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