MANILA, Philippines — Senator Nancy Binay on Wednesday disagreed with Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque who said the Philippines is “winning” the fight against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
“In the first place, it’s too early to say that we are winning. Because if we are winning e ‘di dapat may semblance of normalcy na tayo, lalu-lalo na dito sa Metro Manila. But the mere fact that we’re still under general community quarantine, ibig sabihin no’n we are not winning the battle,” Binay said in an interview with ABS-CBN Channel’s Headstart.
(In the first place, it’s too early to say that we are winning. Because if we are winning, then there should be a semblance of normalcy, especially in Metro Manila. But the mere fact that we’re still under general community quarantine, that means we’re not winning the battle).
“If you see the numbers, it keeps on increasing compared to our other neighbors. Nakita mo ang Vietnam, nagze-zero na sila. Samantalang tayo, nagse-seven hundred pa,” she added.
(If you see the numbers, it keeps on increasing compared to our other neighbors. If you see Vietnam, they are logging zero new cases while we report around 700 news cases daily).
Earlier, Roque said the Philippines is “winning” the battle against COVID-19 as he disputed reports that the Philippines had the fastest rise in new coronavirus cases in the Western Pacific region based on World Health Organization (WHO) data.
While WHO clarified that it did not make the assessment on the rise of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines, it did not contest the data culled by the Philippine Daily Inquirer for its report.
According to Binay, the problem in addressing the crisis lies with the failure to maximize the country’s testing capacity.
“We still have a problem with testing. If you remember a few months ago, we had that hearing in the Senate. The promise was I think by June, 30,000 na yung, not the capacity, but the actual testing,” the senator said.
“Where are we, we’re just 16,000. Ang layo pa dun sa target na 30,000. Sabi ko nga, what’s the use of increasing the capacity kung hindi naman humahabol yung actual test. Siguro pagaralan bakit hindi nama-maximize itong capacity. Ako off-hand ang nakikita kong dahilan, mahal siya e. The test is not affordable so baka isa yun sa dapat tignan o pagaralan,” she added.
(Where are we, we’re just 16,000. It’s still far from the target of 30,000. As I said, what’s the use of increasing the capacity if we can’t reach that amount in actual tests. I think we should look into how to maximize the testing capacity. I think it’s because the tests are pricey. The test is not really affordable so maybe that’s where we should look into).
Earlier, Senator Risa Hontiveros also refuted Roque’s “winning” remark.
“Hindi natin matatalo ang pandemiya kung hindi tayo magiging honest sa mga sarili natin,” she said in a statement.
(We cannot beat the pandemic if we’re not honest with ourselves).
“Paano tayo ‘winning’ kung may mahigit 36,000 kaso na tayo ng COVID-19, may 7.3 milyong Pilipinong walang trabaho, at kulang tayo sa proteksyon at suporta sa mga doktor at health workers? To ‘win’ against COVID-19, first we need to be honest,” she added.
(How can we be ‘winning’ when there are more than 36,000 COVID-19 cases in the country, there are 7.3 million people who have no work and we are still lacking protection and support for doctors and health workers? To ‘win’ against COVID-19, first, we need to be honest).
To date, Philippine health officials have confirmed 37,514 COVID-19 cases in the country. Of this number, 10,233 have recovered while 1,266 have died from the disease.
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