Palace refutes Robredo over govt's alleged failure to "act urgently" vs COVID-19
Malacañang disputed on Thursday Vice President Leni Robredo's observation that the government failed to "act urgently" at the start of the coronavirus disease pandemic and was still catching up with the response of other countries despite the prolonged lockdowns.
In a virtual press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, citing a study by the University of the Philippines, said that if President Rodrigo Duterte did not place the country under quarantine measures as early as mid-March, at least 200,000 people could have already died due to COVID-19.
"In my view, we have made the right steps, although we strive to do better and we will see if there are new strategies (to contain the spread of the virus)," he said.
But he acknowledged Robredo's statement that the country is still far from beating the virus, like the other countries in the world.
"The whole world - we're far from beating COVID-19. I hope the Philippines can break this worldwide trend," Roque said.
Robredo has expressed hope that the government would give the details as to where it is now on its targets, the allocation for testing and contact tracing, among others.
Roque said, "I invite the good Vice President to just ask what she needs to know, we will respond. That's part of my duty as spokesperson."
As of Thursday, the Department of Health reported that confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country rose to 33,069, with 8,910 recoveries and 1,212 deaths. Celerina Monte/DMS