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Letter to the Editor

Enough Is Enough, It’s Time to Recalibrate COVID-19 Response

It is time to call the government’s response to COVID-19 pandemic for what it is—a failure. In the span of seven months since the first recorded positive case in the Philippines, the government has achieved absolutely nothing worth noting in dealing with the pandemic.

Instead, it has plunged the entire nation into a deep ocean of debts, which has yet to be liquidated and felt by the general public. The government has also railroaded a lot of questionable policies that seek to silence any voice of dissent from the people.

The sheer incompetence displayed by Duterte and his cohorts has done unimaginable damage not only to the economy and our health security but also to our basic human rights. The lack of shame and accountability these people exhibit is insulting to every Filipino citizen. At this point, it is clearly undeniable that the end of this pandemic is not on their top priorities. From the beginning, the government has used this pandemic to railroad unjust and questionable policies that only consolidates the power to the one seated in Malacañang.

Instead of providing a comprehensive science-based action plan in dealing with this pandemic, Sec. Duque and his minions in DOH has continuously manipulated their presentation of data, perhaps in the hopes that they might confuse, if not convince, the public into believing that we are winning the fight against COVID-19. But the reality of it all is we are simply nowhere near accomplishing that.

Recently, in another infuriating turn of events, PhilHealth, another corruption hotbed in the government, is embroiled in another shameless scandal. P15 billion were allegedly pocketed by PhilHealth executives through different fraudulent schemes, not to mention issues with overpricing of COVID test kits. In any particular circumstance, it is infuriating to see corrupt officials squander and pocket money from the public. But in the time of COVID-19 when these funds could have been used to save lives, it is outright enraging. Filipino people are on the brink of death by hunger, by the pandemic, and even by the very officials that were sworn to serve them. This is completely unacceptable.

With how these officials treat the whole situation, it is only reasonable to assume that nothing will ever change unless they are replaced with people who are actually competent and capable to face this pandemic head on. It is exhausting and frustrating to keep on calling out this government to do better with regard to its response to this pandemic but if we must continue to shake the establishment until they listen to the people’s demand then that is what we must do. We continue to demand FREE mass testing. Focus on science and medical-based approach rather than a militaristic one. Give aid and assistance to all the marginalized sectors such as farmers, fisherfolks, and the urban poor in the quickest possible way. Ensure the safety and security of our frontliners, specifically our health workers. We must recognize that this pandemic will only be won if our health workers are heard and treated well. And finally, we call on the government to stop its delusions and start recalibrating for a better strategy. The security and the welfare of the Filipino people must be the top priority, not just the select few. If that is ensured, everything else will follow through.

Vitto Lardizabal Rural Women Advocates (RUWA) Cubao, Quezon City

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