MANILA - Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday urged the Duterte administration to address its low ranking among countries assessed for their COVID-19 response and the country's worst GDP yet, by learning from other nations.
The Philippines cannot use the pandemic as an excuse as other countries have also been hit by the pandemic, Robredo said.
"Para sa'kin, dapat sana yung response 'wag na tayo sa propaganda. 'Yung response, dapat tinutugunan kung paano mare-resolve nang mas maaga. Kasi mas matagal yung ganito, mas marami tayong kababayan na maghihirap," she said in her weekly radio show.
(For me, our response should not be propaganda but a way to resolve issues sooner because as long as this persists, more people will struggle.)
"'Yung mga katabi nating bansa, may pandemya rin sa kanila. Lahat naman tayo, tinamaan ng pandemya. Pero bakit sila, mas maayos kaysa satin?"
(Our neighbors are also dealing with the pandemic, but why is their COVID-19 response better than ours?)
The Philippines ranked 79th out of 98 nations evaluated for their handling of the coronavirus crisis, according to Australian think-tank Lowy Institute.
Manila lagged behind its Southeast Asian neighbors, beating only Indonesia, which stood at 85th place. Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore ranked 2nd, 4th and 13th, respectively.
"Sana may mga aral na mapulot tayo sa better performing na mga bansa, kasi nakakatulong talaga na pag-aralan yung mga ginagawa nila," Robredo said.
(I hope we can learn from better-performing countries because it really helps to observe them.)
The country's economy shrunk 8.3 percent in the last quarter of 2020, leading a full year contraction of 9.5 percent, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said last week.
The Philippines is seen to be among the last in Asia-Pacific to recover from the economic recession due to the pandemic, debt watcher Moody's Investors Service earlier said. Malacañang has said it would disprove the forecast.
"Nakita ko yung response, parang defensive pa rin tayo. Parang jina-justify pa rin natin kung bakit mababa ang response. Mas mabuti sanang hanapan na ng paraan para yung mga forecast sa atin na masama, 'di mangyari," Robredo said.
(I saw the response, it seems we're still defensive. We're still justifying why our pandemic response score is low. It's better to find ways to prevent bad forecasts from happening.)
The Philippines as of Saturday logged 523,516 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 36,943 active infections.