Roque dares Robredo to come up with COVID-19 pandemic solution

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 22 2020 01:39 PM | Updated as of Sep 22 2020 04:02 PM

Vice President Leni Robredo and Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque. ABS-CBN News​

Robredo camp hits back: Read experts' recommendations

MANILA (UPDATE)— President Rodrigo Duterte's spokesperson dared Vice President Leni Robredo on Tuesday to come up with a solution to the COVID-19 pandemic, saying she might even become president if she has one.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque's challenge to Robredo comes after the opposition leader said the chief executive's plan to wait for a COVID-19 vaccine is "not enough."

"Hinahamon ko po si VP Leni, kung mayroon siyang solusyon na walang vaccine at wala pa rin gamot, sabihin niya po dahil sigurado po baka ngayon din maging presidente siya kung makahanap siya ng solusyon habang walang bakuna at walang gamot," Roque said during a Palace press briefing.

(I am challenging VP Leni. If she has a solution that doesn't need a vaccine and a cure, reveal it and I'm sure she might just become president immediately if she could find one that doesn't need a vaccine or medicine.)

"Habang wala talagang bakuna, habang walang gamot, wala pa rin po talagang solusyon sa pandemyang ito," he added.

(Until there is no vaccine, no cure, there is really no solution to this pandemic.)

Roque's comments however did not sit well with Robredo's camp with her spokesperson Barry Gutierrez saying the government's response is not right.

"Tuwing may malaking problema, ang sagot na lang nila sa ating lahat, 'walang solusyon.' Subukan kaya niyong basahin din minsan ang mga rekomendasyon ng mga doktor at ibang eksperto--ilang beses na ring ipinaabot ni VP Leni sa IATF yung marami dito--para hindi naman kayong nagmumukhang inutil lagi," Gutierrez said in a statement.

(Every time there is a big problem, they tell us there is no solution. They should try sometime to read the recommendations of doctors and experts--many of these VP Leni already relayed to the IATF--so they don't always appear inutile.)

Robredo on Monday made suggestions on how to respond to the pandemic after President Duterte said in a late-night public address on Monday that only a vaccine could finally solve the health crisis.

The Vice President said the Philippines could suppress the COVID-19 pandemic by "medical and non-medical" means, noting that the government needs to "overcome humanitarian emergencies" like poverty, hunger and unemployment caused by the pandemic.

The Duterte administration has been criticized for its COVID-19 response as the President opted to rely heavily on retired military generals to impose pandemic response policies.

The Philippines also has yet to completely flatten the pandemic curve despite having one of the strictest and longest lockdowns in the world.

As of Monday, the Philippines has logged 4,999 COVID-19 deaths and has confirmed 290,190 infections.