MANILA— The Philippine government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic is "a failure," Sen. Nancy Binay said Friday, as coronavirus infections in the country neared the 1-million mark.
Speaking to ANC, the senator said the government's seeming penchant of playing down the crisis was hampering its response.
"Yes, it is a failure. The government response is a failure and I think government needs to admit na hindi niya kayang bigyan ng solusyon ‘yong problema (that it cannot give solution to the problem),” she said.
“Tingin ko nga kaya tayo nasa ganitong situwasyon ngayon (I think we are in this situation) because there's always that denial that there's a problem. There's always that move to downplay the problem."
"Paano natin bibigyan ng solusyon ‘yong problema kung hindi natin tinatanggap na may malaki tayong problema? (How can we provide solution to a problem if we don't admit there's a huge problem?)” she added.
The senator made the remark after being asked about community pantries that have sprouted across the country in response to hunger brought about by the crisis.
Binay found the government's policies and leadership wanting.
"I don't think we will be in this situation right now kung na-address lahat ng mga issues na 'yon (if all those issued were addressed)," she said.
While people are calling for the resignation of President Rodrigo Duterte, Binay cautioned it may only sow further division.
"Siguro at the moment, baka 'yong ganoong panawagan would bring us more, parang (maybe at the moment, calls like that) it will divide the country more at the moment," she said.
"Hindi natin kailangan 'yonng ganoong division. Hindi natin kailangan ‘yung ganoong paghiwa-hiwalay (We don't need that kind of division). What we need right now is for all of us to work together,” she said.
The Philippines is facing one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in Asia as infections surpassed 970,000 Thursday. So far, over 16,000 people have died from the disease.
In March, Malacañang said the government showed "excellent" management of the COVID-19 pandemic, saying it has brought the crisis under control compared to richer countries.
A consultant to the government's task force had also said the Philippines was faring better than other countries in responding to the pandemic.