DILG disowns Densing's remarks for the second time
DILG Undersecretary Epimaco Densing said that they would issue show cause orders to seven more mayors and one city councilor for having themselves inoculated against COVID-19 even if they were not in the priority list.

DILG disowns Densing's remarks for the second time

(Philstar.com) - April 6, 2021 - 11:32am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government for the second time this month disowned the comments of one of its ranking undersecretaries after the latter claimed that the Philippines did better than other countries against the coronavirus pandemic — a common talking point other officials lean on when brushing off feedback.

"The Department wishes to clarify that the views expressed by Usec. Epimaco Densing III on ANC yesterday about the government’s response to the surge is his own personal opinion and does not reflect the position of the DILG," Interior Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said in a statement. 

"The Department as part of the National Task Force COVID-19 is devoting all of its time, efforts, and resources together with other government agencies in containing the surge through the intensified implementation of the Prevent, Detect, Isolate, Treat and Reintegrate strategy under the National Action Plan."

To recall, Densing in an interview aired over ANC on Monday afternoon said that the Duterte administration did not expect that the new surge of cases would be worse than that of last year's. He added that the pandemic was "a problem with no solution on hand."

"The vaccine could be the solution, but it may [also] not be...so we're trying to do our best to contain and help everybody," he also said. 

RELATED: DILG exec says gov't 'willing to take criticism' but 'successful' containing COVID-19

This, despite the early warnings from healthcare collectives that the entry of the more infectious variants of the pathogen would only worsen the country's coronavirus situation. 

Densing also made headlines when he took a swipe at Vice President Leni Robredo and called her "non-essential" in an interview with ONE News and on his official social media channels. 

"With the support of the LGUs, we have scaled up the contact tracing program to actively trace and test all close contacts, establish more isolation facilities, increase COVID beds in LGU-run hospitals, and the planned establishment of LGU-based triage centers. The plan is in place and we are currently focused on its implementation on the ground," Malaya said, adding that 2,596 vaccine sites across the country are currently carrying out inoculation. 

"We stand behind the efficacy and safety of all FDA-approved vaccines and we are committed to the success of the national vaccination and deployment program which is the ultimate solution to the pandemic...We are confident that with the support of the public, we will be able to contain this surge and heal as one."

As of the Department of Health's latest tally Monday afternoon, 803,398 coronavirus infections — 143,726 of them active — have now been recorded in the country after the department logged 8,355 more. 

The Philippines has been on community quarantine for 386 days, good for the world's longest lockdown. 

Franco Luna 

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