Senate President Vicente ‘Tito’ Sotto III has defended President Rodrigo Duterte from criticisms concerning the government’s response to the ongoing health crisis caused by COVID-19.
In an interview with Rappler Talk yesterday (March 25), Sotto said he can’t imagine any other President in the past who could have handled the difficulties that the pandemic entails. He adds that he doesn’t think that the problems that the country is facing, at the moment, should be blamed on President Duterte.
“I could not imagine any other President in the past that would be able to handle this pandemic, yes, in the ideal way that we would want it to be,” he said
I will not go to that extent of saying that the problem we’re in now is because of the President. I don’t think so,” Sotto adds.
When asked about the abolition of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), which he previously backed, Sotto shared that it was just a moment of ‘exasperation’ over the situation.
“It’s exasperation. Galit ako on my part. As far as I am concerned, It was a mere exasperation [on my part],” he explained.
He adds that it should serve ‘as a wake-up call’ for those in the IATF, who are not doing their job well.
“Bottomline, it’s a wake-up call to the IATF that, ‘Hold on, there are people among your ranks who are not doing their job well,'” Sotto remarked.
Instead of terminating the government’s task force for COVID-19, Sotto pressed the IATF to ‘put in more doctors’ into their lineup.
“They should put in more doctors. That’s the better call. Instead of abolishing the IATF, let us put in more doctors. They should listen to the nurses association, to the Philippine Medical Association. They would know better on how to handle this pandemic,” he suggested.
At the moment, the Philippines is facing a surge of COVID-19 cases, specifically in the National Capital Region.
In response to this, the IATF issued a memorandum last March 21 putting Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal under a strengthened general community quarantine (GCQ) ‘bubble.’ The bubble started on March 22 and will last until April 4.
According to the DOH’s infection tally for March 26, there’s been an increase of 9,838 to the number of active cases in the Philippines. It brings the total active COVID-19 case count in the country to 109,018.
You can watch the interview below.
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