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ROUGH CUTS | Can they, for once, rally behind the efforts?




IN YESTERDAY’S late afternoon newscast on television we heard that the number of new CoronaVirus Disease (CoViD) infections dropped substantially to a little over five thousand compared to last Sunday’s record high of 8,099.

The figure is a huge relief to the government which is doing its best to stem down the infection to the point of imposing much stricter restrictions even if most, if not all, of the country is under the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) category. But of course this is not something to celebrate as according to the country’s acclaimed health experts the figure could still rise to as many as 10,000 daily until the end of the month.

In other words the government and the people as well should not give any room for complacency and should not relax their guard against the dreaded virus.

But of course for the many pessimists especially politicians who are known to be having their own vested interest, it is expected that they can’t be prevented from continuing their tirades against the strategy adopted by the government in its fight against the pandemic. Earlier, some senators were demanding for the head of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, chair of the IATF. Now they are calling for the overhauling of the composition of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) which is the body that is tasked to oversee the government’s efforts to fight the deadly CoViD 19.

In fact the Senate President is calling for the total abolition of the IATF although he did not suggest any measure to create another body to assume the responsibilities of the IATF once dissolved. What a joke! And too late to harbor an ambition to become a hero in the struggle.

And here comes Sen. Imee Marcos. She called the Task Force as a whole, a bunch of ineptitudes who don’t seem to do anything right in carrying their duties in stemming the infections. And she asked why until now we do not have the vaccines needed to have every Filipino vaccinated or at least 70 percent of us so we can achieve the so-called herd immunity.

What a myopic observation coming from an official who has claimed to have studied in England or elsewhere abroad and at the University of the Philippines. Is she and her ilk not aware that the vaccines are manufactured not by any Philippine pharmaceutical company but by US and other Western laboratories whose bias in selling their products would always be in favor of their own government and people? Does the senator know that the Philippines, as buyer, will have to be at the mercy of the supplier factory when it can have the stocks of vaccines we need? Yes, even if we are assured of the intervention of the World Health Organization (WHO) that we will get the appropriate volume needed by our people, still, it is the vaccine manufacturer that allocates its finished product for disposal. And definitely, their first priority is their own country.

Look at what is happening now in Europe. The governments in that continent are saying that the rate of production of the vaccines is not enough to meet the European countries’ requirement, thus the need to reconsider the selling of their vaccines to other countries.

On the other hand, how long will the senators like Marcos and Sotto and Lacson and lately the businessmen who claim to be too willing to purchase on their own the vaccines needed especially by their employees, that all the vaccines manufactured are still under the so-called Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) only and not yet on commercial purpose?

These senators want the business groups to buy vaccines, but are they (businessmen) willing to assume the responsibility of footing the bills should there be any of their people administered the vaccine develop serious negative reactions? The manufacturers are emphatic on their position that they will not assume cost of treatment of people developing negative reactions to their vaccine. Instead they want the government of customer countries to assume such cost. What a one-sided proposition!

Will the grandstanding senators and other supposed critic-experts be able to give the guarantee to the government that the businessmen will shoulder the cost of treating the negative impact on their people?
Then they harangue about the supposed “militarization” of the approach of the government in fighting the pandemic claiming that there are a growing number of former military officials running the IATF. Admitted.

So if they want the task force and the efforts devoid of military men, what are they suggesting? That the government pulls out the soldiers and the policemen and other paramilitary people now manning the checkpoints and guarding places normally converged by people? Who would they want as replacements that they can assure will be more effective and followed by the already wary and tired population long controlled of their movement?

And they have the gall to compare the Philippines to such countries as South Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.

Fortunately for these countries, their leaders, their experts and their people rally behind their government in the fight against the pandemic. In our country, our leaders, especially those who are outside the ruling political group, prefer to deny cooperation and instead present their ideas that they would use if they are in the political loop. They are the ones making the most noise these days.

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