MANILA— Malacañang should be open to suggestions on addressing the coronavirus pandemic instead of rejecting those from the opposition, the camp of Vice President Leni Robredo said Wednesday.
This, in response to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque's comments Wednesday that the administration "do[es] not expect anything positive" from Robredo because she is "the leader of the opposition."
"Sa panahon na ito, hindi na dapat ang pag-iisip natin oposisyon o administrasyon. Ang pag-iisip dapat natin dito lahat tayo Pilipino, lahat tayo gustong makaahon ang buong bansa natin sa laban sa pandemyang ito," Robredo's spokesperson Barry Gutierrez told CNN Philippines.
(At this time, our mindset should not be that this is the opposition or this is the administration. Our mindset should be: we are all Filipinos, we all want our country to rise from this pandemic.)
Robredo on Tuesday said she did not join the calls of other opposition leaders for the sacking of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III because the country faced a bigger problem: the supposed lack of a cohesive pandemic plan.
The Vice President earlier gave suggestions to the education department on distance learning and to the inter-agency task force on the coronavirus response. Robredo, an economist, later gave a speech on rescuing the economy.
But President Rodrigo Duterte claimed in August that Robredo would "just destroy government." He told her: "Please do not add fuel to the fire."
"Hindi naman dapat i-dismiss lang na pamumulitika ito," said Gutierrez.
(This should not be dismissed as politicking.)
"Sana maging mas bukas lang sila sa pakikinig, sa mga suggestions galing sa mga eksperto, galing sa iba’t ibang mga interesadong tumulong dahil tingin ko naman kung makikinig tayo at didinggin natin iyong mga magagandang suggestions, lalong bubuti at lalong lalakas iyong overall effort at sa dulo, buong bayan rin natin ang makikinabang," he added.
(I hope they could be more open to listening to the suggestions from experts, various groups interested in helping. I think if we listen to good suggestions, our overall effort will improve in the end and the whole country will benefit from it.)
The Philippines has confirmed 272,934 coronavirus infections, 60,344 of which were active as of Wednesday. It has the 21st biggest caseload worldwide, according to a dashboard by the Johns Hopkins University.