MANILA - Sen. Cynthia Villar clarified Sunday it is government officials and not medical frontliners that she was referring to in her earlier statement about "working harder" as she rejected the appeal of health workers to enforce stricter quarantine measures against the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We have to work harder and better, but I am not referring in particular to the medical workers--our frontliners. We are referring to all of us and DOH (Department of Health) and PhilHealth in particular," Villar said after her remarks made in a radio interview Saturday drew flak.
"There is so much room for improvement in the government’s response to curb the transmission of the disease," she added.
Asked yesterday on DWIZ radio if she was in favor of the request of various organizations of health professionals for government to place Metro Manila back under enhanced community quarantine amid the surge of COVID-19 cases, Villar responded: "Hindi na siguro. Pagbutihin nila trabaho nila. Hindi pwedeng isara ang ekonomiya kasi kung 'di naman mamamatay sa COVID, mamamatay naman sa gutom ang tao."
"Kapag lockdown kasi, magsa-suffer ang ekonomiya. I guess we have to live with COVID 19," added the lawmaker whose family owns businesses across the country.
In her statement on Sunday, Villar said, "Government leaders need to work harder to minimize the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to the economy, the health sector and the people."
The government's task force against the pandemic and local governments must work harder in tracing and managing the movement of businesses and the public to prevent more infections, she said.
"We all want to be safe and COVID-free. All of us are doing a difficult balancing act to keep people safe and alive. We all need to keep our jobs, the economy, to do our respective roles to sustain this. All of us have to work harder and better," she said.
The Philippines on Saturday reported record-high coronavirus infections for a third day at 4,963 new cases, raising the nationwide total to 98,232.
The tally includes 2,039 fatalities, 65,265 recoveries and 30,928 active cases.