Duterte's first Speaker: Coronavirus response 'a failure'


Posted at Sep 23 2020 09:30 AM | Updated as of Sep 23 2020 11:31 AM

President Rodrigo Duterte holds a meeting with members of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang on May 11, 2020. Ace Morandante, Presidential Photo/File

MANILA -- The first Speaker of the House of Representatives under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte said Wednesday that the government's response to the coronavirus pandemic was "a failure."

"Alam natin lahat, ‘wag na tayong magbolahan dito, pataas nang pataas, paakyat nang paakyat pa rin ang ating COVID-positive, instead na pababa," said former House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.

(We all know this, let us not kid each other, the cases are continuously increasing instead of going down.)

"Anong tawag natin dito? Alangan namang tawagin natin itong success. Para sa akin, let’s be honest, it’s really a failure, iyong approach. The way it was handled I think, is a failure," he told ANC.

(What do we call this? We can't dub it a success.)

The government should have rolled out "localized" solutions instead of one-size-fits-all policies, said the representative of Davao del Norte's first district.

For example, instead of banning face-to-face classes nationwide, authorities should have taken into account the lack of internet and television signal in some provinces, and the inability of teachers and parents to use gadgets for distance learning, said Alvarez.

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Regulators should have also stopped the “unabated” importation of agriculture products that compete with the harvest of local farmers.

Avarez said he did not relay his suggestions directly to Duterte because it had been "very difficult" to get an appointment with the President since his ouster as Speaker.

"I am not criticizing the President… Inilalabas ko lang ang saloobin ko as a citizen of this country. Ito ang nakikita kong mali e, baka sakaling pakinggan," said Alvarez. "Kailangan nating i-address ito dahil kapakanan ng mga kababayan natin ito."

(I am just airing my sentiments as a citizen of the country. This are the shortcomings I see, perhaps the government will listen. We need to address this for the sake of our compatriots.)
-- With a report from Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News