MANILA - Vice President Leni Robredo said Sunday she expects President Rodrigo Duterte to present his plan on how the Philippines will battle the continuous surge of COVID-19 cases and its recovery from the pandemic.
Robredo said she was not invited to physically attend Duterte's penultimate SONA at the Batasang Pambansa and will instead join through videoconference.
"Sinasabi ni Secretary (Harry) Roque na ihahayag ng Pangulo iyong parang COVID recovery plan. Ito iyong inaasahan natin," Robredo said in her weekly radio show.
(Secretary Roque said the President will present his COVID recovery plan. This is what we're hoping for.)
"Pero siyempre, inaasahan din natin mag-report kung anong nangyari during the past year. Kasi ganoon naman iyong SONA, ire-report mo iyong nakaraan, ihahayag mo iyong para sa susunod na taon," the Vice President added.
(But of course, we're also expecting him to report on what happened during the past year, and what his plans are for next year.)
"So hopefully, tomorrow, kumpletong ilalahad. Lalo na iyong... hindi lang recovery plan pero—ang problema kasi patuloy pa din iyong pagtaas ng kaso. So, gusto nating marinig ano ba iyong plano natin para ma-arrest iyong pagtaas ng kaso."
(Hopefully tomorrow, he will present everything. Not just the recovery plan, but his plan on how to arrest the increasing number of cases.)
The Philippines on Saturday reported some 2,000 cases of new infections, raising the country's total cases to 78,412. Of this number, 25,752 patients recovered and 1,897 died.
Robredo cited a University of the Philippines study which projected that the Philippines might reach 130,000 cases of COVID-19 by the end of August.
She notes that the Philippines has a higher number of active virus cases than Indonesia, which has the leading tally of COVID-19 infections in Southeast Asia at 97,286.
"Medyo nakakabahala siya kasi siguradong may ginagawa tayong hindi tama. Kasi kung tama iyong ginagawa natin, hindi sana ganito kataas. Kapag tiningnan natin, iyong mga kapitbahay natin na ibang bansa ay bumabalik na sa normal," she said.
(It's worrisome because for sure we are doing something wrong. If we were doing things right, our number of cases wouldn't be this high. If we look at our neighbors, they're going back to normal.)
"Tayo ay sinusubukan natin bumalik sa normal, pero hanggang tumataas iyong kaso, mahihirapan tayong bumalik. So kahit anong gawin ng economic managers na buksan ulit iyong ekonomiya—na dapat naman—hanggang hindi natin nahihinto iyong ganitong pagtaas, mahihirapan tayo kasi iyong tao parating takot."
(We're trying to go back to normal but as cases continue to rise, we will struggle. Whatever our economic managers do to reopen the economy--as it should be--until we stop the rise of cases, we'll struggle because people will continue to fear.)
Duterte will send a message that life goes on despite the COVID-19 pandemic when he delivers his penultimate SONA, Malacañang earlier said.
The 75-year-old Duterte, the oldest to be elected as Philippine president, will physically deliver his annual address even as the House of Representatives reported its 19th COVID-19 case and some members of his communications team have contracted the virus.
Robredo lamented that many problems reman unsolved, and that despite the long quarantine period, the cases continue to rise.
"Iyong New York nga na sobrang mas malala talaga sa atin, kapag tiningnan mo iyong curve nila, talagang pababa na. Eh tayo, totoong mas kaunti iyong kaso natin sa kanila, pero hindi nagbibigay ng parang feeling of security sa tao habang papataas pa iyong epidemic curve."
(The epidemic curve of New York, which was worse than us, is going downwards. Our cases are fewer than theirs but it doesn't give a feeling of security to people as it continues to rise.)