Senators say Duterte should present plans on COVID-19 response, economy in final SONA


Posted at Jul 26 2021 12:02 PM

Senators say Duterte should present plans on COVID-19 response, economy in final SONA 1
President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his speech following his inspection of the newly completed terminal building of the Clark International Airport on July 17, 2021. Arman Baylon, Presidential Photo

MANILA - At least two senators want to hear President Rodrigo Duterte's plan to address the COVID-19 pandemic and the country's economic recovery in his last State of the Nation Address Monday.

Duterte should present his plan on how the Philippines can prevent a surge of cases of the COVID-19 Delta variant that overtook India and Indonesia, said opposition Sen. Francis Pangilinan.

"I don’t think at this point masasabi natin na pumapasa siya. Maaaring pumasa siya kung aayusin talaga niya... I want to hear later paano natin malalagpasan itong COVID, paano manunumbalik ang ekonomiya, pano matitiyak na 'yung vaccine rollout ay talagang sapat na," he told ANC's Headstart.

(I don't think at this point we can say he would get a passing grade. Maybe he can if he would do his job well... I want to hear later how we will get past COVID, how we'll revive the economy, how we can ensure that the vaccine rollout is enough.)

"Paano natin tatalunin ang COVID, paano malalagpasan ang Delta variant para hindi mangyari sa'tin ang nangyari sa India at Indonesia."

(How we'll beat COVID and the Delta variant so what happened to India and Indonesia won't happen to us.)

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More COVID-19 vaccines would spur more economic activity, said Sen. Grace Poe as she recognized response efforts of the national and local governments.

"As it is now, we’re suffering: 7.7 percent of unemployment, more than 4 million families (who suffered from) incidents of involuntary hunger," she told ANC's Market Edge.

"Other things need to be addressed: the vaccine rate. The fact remains we don't really have enough vaccines. With the rollout of more vaccines, I think there would be more economic activity."

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The Philippines aims to inoculate 58 million residents of Metro Manila and 8 other key economic hubs by yearend to achieve population protection against the virus.

Some 5,560,029 individuals have been fully-vaccinated against COVID-19 while government has administered a total of 16,426,267 jabs as of July 22, government said.

The country's economy last year registered a -9.5 percent growth, its first contraction since 1998 when the country posted economic decline to 0.5 percent due to the Asian financial crisis.

The economic downturn was also worse than the 7 percent contraction recorded in 1984, making it the steepest post-war slump in Philippine history, using available PSA data dating back to 1947.