MANILA - Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday lamented the lack of a "manager" in government's efforts against COVID-19 as virus cases continue to rise and following the surge of stranded individuals waiting for transport at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.
The stranded persons, mostly from the Visayas and Mindanao, were scheduled to leave Metro Manila over the weekend through government's "Hatid Tulong" program.
Robredo lauded government agencies but lamented the lack of a manager who should "harmonize" efforts against the pandemic.
"In fairness naman sa mga nagtatrabaho sa gobyerno, tingin ko lahat naman nagtatrabaho. Lahat na mga agencies, ang iba diyan kulang na sa tulog, talagang binubuhos iyong sarili. Pero parang walang nagma-manage, Ka Ely. Kaniya-kaniyang ahensya, kaniya-kaniyang ginagawa. Pero parang walang kundoktor," she said in her weekly radio show.
"Ayaw kong tawaran iyong pagod ng mga nagtatrabaho, kasi alam ko nagtatrabaho—hindi naman ito katamaran, tingin ko hindi iyon. Pero walang manager. Walang manager."
Robredo said the free transportation of stranded individuals should have been organized better, citing examples that they should have been divided into groups and schedules.
"Hindi kasalanan ng tao. Hindi kasalanan ng tao kasi maraming desperate makauwi. Pero sana man lang, ginawan ng plano...kahit maliit iyong opisina namin, kahit paano iyong aming napauwi na 1,800-plus, so far wala pa doong nag-positive, kasi iyong aming protocols ay maayos," she said.
(It's not the fault of the people because many are desperate to go home. Authorities should have planned it better. Our office, despite being small, managed to return home some 1,800 persons of whom no one has tested positive for the virus yet because of our orderly protocols.)
"Noong nakita ko iyong mga pictures noong isang gabi pa, talagang nanlumo ako na grabe iyong ine-exert natin na effort sa social distancing, pero tayo mismo iyong violators. Mangyayari at mangyayari ito kung hindi maayos iyong pagplano. Walang excuse eh."
(When I saw the pictures the other night I was saddened because we exert so much effort in enforcing social distancing but we're also the violators. This will surely happen when there's a lack of planning. There's no excuse.)
Robredo also said she has written to National Task Force (NTF) chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez on government's use of rapid tests before sending stranded persons home as these do not have high accuracy.
"Ang pinakasadya nga natin, ma-contain iyong virus. So kung hindi sigurado na talagang cleared—Alam mo iyong rapid test, ang accuracy ay mababa, so kapag nag-negative na siya, baka mas delikado pa, mas delikado pa nga kasi nabibigyan siya ng parang false sense of security," she said.
(Our aim is to contain the virus, so if a person is not cleared as the accuracy of rapid tests is low--it's more dangerous if he tests negative and is given a false sense of security.)
"Huwag naman sanang ipasa iyong swab testing sa mga LGUs (local government units), kasi hindi lahat na LGUs may capacity."
(Let's not pass on swab testing to LGUs because not all of them have the capacity.)
Robredo, in the same interview, said she expects President Rodrigo Duterte to present his plan on addressing the surge of virus cases and the country's recovery plan against the pandemic.
The Philippines as of Saturday reported 78,412 cases of the novel coronavirus, with 25,752 recoveries and 1,897 deaths.