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Country's vice president shares thoughts on COVID-19

Vice President Robredo calls for more accurate data

Manila – Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo said “merely waiting for the arrival of a vaccine will not stop the pandemic.”

In a taped message which was uploaded on her Facebook account, the country’s vice president said COVID-19’s spread must be stopped at the soonest possible time. She underscored the need for correct data which she described as the foundation of correct decisions.

Vice President Robredo said with accurate date, the government can identify whom and which areas to focus as regards mass testing, contact tracing and community and hospital support.

“If the healthcare aspect is properly addressed, community transmission will be controlled and the economy can be opened in a manner that is quick, safe and strategic and job loss can be avoided with fewer people will have to suffer,” she said.

She explained concerns and anxieties brought about by closure of businesses will also be stopped and “they will not anymore have to reach the point when they have to lay off employees, or worse, fold up.”

In her 22-minute address in Pilipino, Vice President Robredo said she has no doubts the government is aware of this need as the crisis is immense.

“We all need to be agile as we identify gaps, and quick and creative in filling these,” she said.

It is imperative for government to clean up and accelerate data gathering regarding COVID-19. Should this be accomplished decisions, policies and programs to stop the spread of the virus will be founded on more solid ground. She emphasized the need for data repositories and choose from various platforms to create what she referred to as “response ecosystem” where centralized data would be the standard.

“With wrong and unintelligible data slows down the validation process, the decision-making process thus slows down, too. For example, a discrepancy between positive and confirmed cases can be seen in the available data. More than 113,000 cases have been tested positive, while only around 80,000 of these are confirmed. This means that the verification process needs to catch up, because the official data has yet to reflect many of the positives,” she explained.

Vice President Robredo said a communication campaign is urgently needed for patients to write down the right information for further reference. She acknowledged the government’s capacity to immediately release information to the general public.

“I am confident that this can be accomplished at the soonest possible time,” the country’s second highest ranking official said.

She called on the government to tap the Academe to help in the validation process, to objectively look into surveillance and field testing. The government can also looking into the performance of testing facilities and learn what causes the delay. Locally Stranded Individuals or LSIs should undergo swab tests before being allowed to return home.

Vice President Robredo said she believes in the “whole of nation approach” but the government has to go beyond the positions and do away with monickers and titles of those being in charge.

She defined the whole of nation approach as having an effective management and moving in a single direction. The bottlenecks in procurement should also be addressed while the programs of both the public and private sectors should be in unison.

Vice President Robredo said this is the time to look into hospitals and healthcare systems whether they address the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. She also called on government to care for the front liners, from medical professionals to members of the uniformed service.

She also enumerated possible programs and approaches to cushion COVID-19’s impact on Education and the Economy.

In closing, Vice President Robredo said the Filipinos are a creative and resourceful people.

“With the countless trials from disasters, wars, the dictatorship, the experience of colonization, one thing is certain: We came through because we pulled together, because we extended the reach of our compassion, because we treated each Filipino like they were on our side, and we fought for each other and loved each other,” she further said.

As she acknowledged private individuals who shared resources to the front liners, Vice President Robredo said her experience showed her that Filipinos “are not hardheaded, as they are always ready and willing to help others. Filipinos are not worthless, we are strong and able to face any challenge. We will not be defeated. We will emerge victories in this battle against the pandemic.” (Melo M. Acuña)

Vice President Leni Robredo delivering her 22-minute message on the COVID-19 pandemic. (Screen grab from her Facebook page)

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