Robredo: Waiting for vaccine, spraying pesticide wonât solve COVID-19 crisis
In this March 24, 2020 photo, Vice President Leni Robredo oversees the preparation of personal protective equipment (PPE) sets that will be delivered to another batch of hospitals.
OVP/Charlie Villegas
Robredo: Waiting for vaccine, spraying pesticide won’t solve COVID-19 crisis
Gaea Katreena Cabico ( - September 22, 2020 - 9:05am

MANILA, Philippines — Having hospitals to treat coronavirus patients and waiting for a vaccine are not enough to address the health crisis that has infected more than 290,000 people in the Philippines, Vice President Leni Robredo said.

In a taped speech aired Monday night, President Rodrigo Duterte lashed out at critics, including Robredo, for saying the government has not done enough to address the pandemic.

“Now, you might be hearing of critics and ‘yung walang magawa, that we are not doing enough. Ano mang enough ang gusto ninyo? May hospital, may kama, at may punerarya,” Duterte said.

(Now, you might be hearing of critics and those who do nothing that we are not doing enough. What ‘enough’ do you want? There are hospitals, beds and funeral parlors.)

“Alam mo Leni, kung gusto mo, if you really want to do away with the COVID-19, sprayhan natin itong Pilipinas o Manila ng pesticide para patay lahat,” he also said.

(Leni, if you want, if you really want to do away with the COVID-19, we’ll spray the Philippines or Manila with pesticide so everyone dies.)

For now, the only thing that people can do is wear face masks and wait for a vaccine, the chief executive said.

‘Not enough’

But for Robredo, the country will not be able to contain the crisis if the government will just wait for a coronavirus vaccine—which can take months or even years to be developed. 

“Hindi yata sapat na basta may ospital, kama at punerarya, ang kailangan na lang gawin ay maghintay ng vaccine,” the vice president wrote on her Facebook page after Duterte’s address.

(It’s not enough to have hospitals, beds and funeral homes, and just wait for a vaccine.)

She pointed out the need to suppress the pandemic through medical and non-medical interventions, overcome poverty, hunger, unemployment and mental distress caused by the crisis, restructure public and private finances, and rebuild the economy in an “inclusive, resilient and sustainable way.”

“‘Yung number 1 one (suppressing pandemic), hindi ma-sosolusyunan sa pag-spray ng pesticide sa Manila galing eroplano,” Robredo said.

(Suppressing pandemic cannot be solved by spraying pesticides all over Manila.)

The Philippines has recorded 290,190 COVID-19 infections, the highest in Southeast Asia despite imposing one of the world’s longest and strictest lockdown. Of the figure, 4,999 have died.

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