MANILA - Health Secretary Francisco Duque III prematurely announced that the Philippines was already on the second wave of the COVID-19 outbreak, Sen. Richard Gordon said Thursday.
“I think he was premature. He was trying to put a brave face to the program. Certainly, he was under pressure not only from his peers, from the Cabinet, from everybody,” said Gordon on ANC’s Headstart via Zoom.
On Wednesday, Duque said the Philippines is now on the second wave of the outbreak. He said the first wave started in January with the 3 Chinese nationals from Wuhan City, China.
Gordon said the Philippines is still gaining momentum in the fight against COVID-19 and can only hope that “we can indeed pass the first wave.”
“Secretary Duque has his hands full and gusto niya makapagbigay ng balita na makakahinahon sa tao. He wants the public to have some hope and inspiration. But it doesn’t matter if it’s the first or second wave, I expect the worse to still to come," he said.
Gordon appealed for cooperation to be able to conduct more tests as the country is only testing .2 percent of the population.
“Sa akin, let’s just all work together because even I cannot be optimistic,” he said, adding that local chief executives should take the initiative of bringing their people to testing centers to be tested “so we can get a better handle on what is happening, otherwise we're still guessing.”
Gordon said his goal of mass testing is 2 percent of Metro Manila and 2 percent of the Philippines. But the World Health Organization told him that the standard is 13 percent.
“So I have to test 13 percent of Manila along with the Department of Health and that means 1.6 million people in Manila alone. If you target the country at 13 percent, that’s 14.2 million,” he said.
He urged private companies to help in funding COVID-19 for poor families.