'Ill-prepared for pandemics': COVID-19 crisis a 'learning experience' for voters - analyst

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 07 2020 10:00 AM

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MANILA - The COVID-19 pandemic should be a "learning experience" for voters on the leaders they elect, a political analyst said Tuesday.

Local governments are prepared for natural hazards but many, if not all, are ill-prepared in "dealing with a pandemic of this scale," according to Professor Ador Torneo, director of De La Salle University's Jesse M. Robredo Institute of Governance.

"Once we get through this crisis, this should be a learning experience for us in terms not only of the kind of leaders we elect but also what kind of programs that we should call for," he told ANC.

"It emerges at this time how important electing leaders that are very capable, highly competent and have a clear sense of priority is emerging more than ever."

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier gave local officials leeway in handling the COVID-19 pandemic but later backpedaled and said they should "stand down" and abide by the national government's guidelines.

Torneo said a lot of local government units "have best practices, innovative practices but we cannot be just running on a patchwork of practices alone."

He urged local governments to convert their local disaster offices into COVID-19 response teams.

"This should not require too much work because the body is already in existence. Maybe one of the major difference is the focal person should be somebody who is a health professional so that they can take into account public health as the primary focus of the response," he said.

As of Monday, the Philippines has recorded 3,660 cases of COVID-19, including 163 deaths and 73 recoveries.