Senator Cynthia Villar on August 2 said that it was the government leaders who should work harder to alleviate the impact of COVID-19 in the Philippines.
She clarified the statement following backlash on social media for allegedly dismissing the advice of the medical community to place Metro Manila to enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) due to the impact of the increasing number of cases on the health care workers.
The senator earlier noted that Filipinos will jus “have to learn to live with COVID-19” as the country cannot afford to shut down the economy again.
She also said that there is no need to place the region on ECQ status, saying that “Hindi na siguro. Pagbutihin nila trabaho nila. Hindi puwedeng isara ang ekonomiya kasi kung ‘di naman mamamatay sa COVID, mamamatay naman sa gutom ang tao.”
After her comments drew flak online, she explained that the statement was not aimed at the healthcare workers but at government officials.
“We have to work harder and better, but I am not referring in particular to the medical workers—our frontliners. We are referring to all of us and DOH (Department of Health) and Philhealth (Philippine Health Insurance Corp.) in particular. There is so much room for improvement in the government’s response to curb the transmission of the disease,” she told GMA News.
The senator also noted their appreciation for the medical frontliners, saying that they have passed the Bayanihan package 2, to provide health and financial support to the people. “The government’s economic team will have to work harder to raise the money to fund the package,” she said.
“The Task Force and the LGUs will have to work harder in trying to trace and manage movements of people and businesses to prevent more infections, and at the same time, be mindful of the people’s desire to earn a living,” GMA news quoted Villar as saying.
Villar also said that all Filipinos have to work harder to curb the spread of the disease, and that everyone is doing their best to keep everyone safe.
“We all want to be safe and COVID-free. All of us are doing a difficult balancing act to keep people safe and alive. We all need to keep our jobs, the economy, to do our respective roles to sustain this. All of us have to work harder and better,” noted the senator.