'Buhay, kabuhayan': Duterte must become 'healing' president to leave positive legacy - analyst
MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte and his administration must focus on saving lives and creating more jobs as Filipinos need a "healing" and "calming voice" during the COVID-19 pandemic, a political science professor said Monday.
This as the President is set to physically deliver his penultimate State of the Nation Address at the Batasang Pambansa later Monday.
Professor Julio Teehankee said Duterte must be a "unifying president and set aside his personal feelings against his political opponents and become the healing president" as virus cases continue to rise in the country.
"This is no time for jokes, enough of the political inanities. If this administration is serious about leaving a positive legacy for the Filipino people, it should devote all its energy and attention to simply 2 things: saving lives and expanding livelihood. In Filipino, buhay at kabuhayan. Anything other than that would be simply distraction to the task at hand," he told ANC.
"What we need now is healing, what we need now is a calming voice. We do not need fear, stress, bullying...There’s still time if he sets his vision, plans, program for the Filipino people. Kung matutuunan ng pansin ng ating Pangulo itong 2 problemang ito, mapapatawad siya ng sambayanang Pilipino."
The leadership of the administration in addressing the pandemic has been found "wanting," Teehankee said.
"Especially while the public and private healthworkers have done a tremendous job addressing the pandemic as frontliners, the leadership for example of the DOH has really messed up the entire situation because of its hardheaded position not to do mass testing," he said.
Government has also treated the pandemic as a war instead of a public health crisis, he added.
"Instead of epidemiologists, virologists, scientists, we mobilized our soldiers and policemen in treating this virus. The people are not the enemy. It’s the virus. We keep saying that over and over but if you have a militaristic approach it’s not healthy even for the state of our democracy," he said.
"We’re already facing a health crisis and here we are diminishing the health of our democracy."
If the President will not be able to handle the pandemic in a "very satisfactory manner, it will have an impact on whoever he will anoint in the next elections," Teehankee said.
"His government's chaotic response to this pandemic has resulted in a squandering the political capital that has been given to him by the people and right now we are actually worse off than we were 5 months ago unlike other countries that have actually succeeded in their effort to flatten the curve," he said.
The Philippines as of Sunday reported 80,448 cases of COVID-19, with 26,110 recoveries and 1,932 deaths.