Palace says all of Robredo's suggestions on COVID-19 response already addressed

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 30 2020 04:54 PM

Palace says all of Robredo's suggestions on COVID-19 response already addressed 1
Vice President Leni Robredo delivers a speech, Jan. 6, 2020. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - Malacañang on Thursday took a defensive stance over the suggestions presented by Vice President Leni Robredo on how the government can better respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, saying the government has already addressed all of the points she raised.

In an address to the Filipino nation on Wednesday, Robredo suggested ways to fill in gaps in the government's pandemic response. 

Among the recommendations she presented were faster COVID-19 data gathering and reporting, a communications campaign, and the involvement of the academe in the health department's validation process. 

She also suggested a faster turnover of COVID-19 test results, free swab testing for locally stranded individuals, tapping public health professionals to lead pandemic response, coordination between the public and private sector, improvement of hospitals, and assistance to healthcare workers.

"Malaki ang krisis, at maraming dapat gawin, kaya kailangan nating lahat maging mas maliksi sa pagtukoy sa mga puwang, at maging mabilis at malikhain sa pagpuno nito," Robredo said in her address.

President Rodrigo Duterte's spokesperson Harry Roque on Thursday said the government has supposedly addressed all of Robredo's suggestions.

Below are Roque's responses to some of the Vice President's proposals:

ON FASTER COVID-19 DATA GATHERING AND REPORTING

"Sa issue ng data collection and validation, according to the Department of Health ay na-address na po nila iyong concern dahil ang validation po, sa validating, all submitted encoded data for 24 hours prior to its publication. This validation includes review, removal of duplicate entries, checks for data consistency tulad ng date formats, tamang pangalan ng lugar at pasilidad, kasama rito ang address, date of onset of illness and/or specimen collection, data and cause of death for reported fatalities."

ON A COMMUNICATIONS CAMPAIGN

"Tatlong beses isang linggo po ang ating press briefing. Umiikot din po ako sa mga networks para magpaliwanag kung wala pong press briefing. Ang Laging Handa Briefing na program naman po dito po sa PTV-4 na bino-broadcast din ng lahat ng miyembro ng KBP (Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas) ay araw-araw po napapanood. Hindi nga lang po sa Channel 4, kundi sa lahat po ng mga miyembrong istasyon ng KBP, gaya rin po ng ating mga press briefings."

ON THE INVOLVEMENT OF THE ACADEME

"Ginagawa na po ito ng Presidente. Tatlong beses na po siyang nagpatawag ng mga dalubhasa. At siya mismo, nagtatanong sa mga dalubhasa tungkol sa kanilang mga opinyon. At siyempre po, sa IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force), nandiyan po iyong ating mga experts na talagang nagbibigay po ng kanilang mga kuro-kuro at suhestiyon."

ON FASTER TURNOVER OF COVID-19 TEST RESULTS

"Alam ninyo po, nalinaw na po natin ‘to. Sinabi na po ni Secretary Vince Dizon na mayroon na po tayong faster turnaround turn para sa ating mga testing. Mula dalawang linggo noong Marso ay naging isang linggo itong Mayo. At ngayon po, 48 to 72 hours ang ating turnaround pagdating sa PCR testings. Hindi po ito himala. Bumilis ang turnaround time ng testing dahil sa increased lab capacity at saka iyong steady supply ng mga kinakailangan na test kits at saka po sa automation. Ito po ang dahilan."
 
ON FREE SWAB TESTING FOR STRANDED INDIVIDUALS

"Patungkol sa Locally Stranded Individuals, alam ninyo po, alam natin na maraming pumupula doon sa nangyari sa [Rizal] Coliseum. Pero ang katotohanan po diyan, talaga namang hindi inasahan na dadagsain iyong Hatid Tulong noong araw na iyon ‘no. Totoo po niyan, nagkaroon po sila ng registration by internet. Kaya lang po, iyong ating mga kapatid na LSI, dahil atat na atat nang makauwi, eh sinabihan iyong ibang mga kababayan nila na naging dahilan na talagang napakadaming dumating na hindi inaasahan ng mga organizers ‘no."

ON TAPPING PUBLIC HEALTH PROFESSIONALS TO LEAD PANDEMIC RESPONSE

"Sa totoo lang po, ang IATF naman po, ang Chairman namin ay isang doktor ‘no. Hindi lang po isa, dalawang beses na po naging Secretary of Health. So tingin ko po, sa karanasan, eh napakalawak na po ng karanasan ni Secretary Duque."

Roque said other issues that he was not able to mention, were addressed in his letter to Robredo.

"Lahat naman po ay nasagot sa aming liham na pormal na na-receive na ng kaniyang opisina," he said.

The Philippines on Wednesday breached the 85,000-mark in its tally of confirmed COVID-19 cases, surpassing the number of infections in mainland China where the disease is believed to have first emerged last last year.