Lacson: Govt failed in handling the pandemic

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(FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 24) — Senator Panfilo "Ping" Lacson said the Duterte administration failed in how it handled the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an interview with Boy Abunda on Monday, Lacson, who is running for president in the May polls, mentioned several instances where the government could have made different choices to stem the spread of the virus.

"Categorically, are you trying to say Senator, that the COVID handling of this government is a failure?" asked Abunda.

Lacson replied, "Yes. Kita naman natin resulta, e [It's obvious in the results]."

Lacson cited the Senate hearing following the case of a couple who traveled by plane from Cebu to Manila.

"Alam ng DOH, alam ng authorities ito na silang dalawa afflicted ng COVID-19. Tinanong namin sa aming Senate hearing, 'Nagawa niyo na ba ‘yung contract tracing? Kilala naman niyo ‘yung mga pasahero...kayang kontakin.' Alam mo ‘yung sagot sa amin? Seventeen percent lamang ‘yung kanilang na-contact. ‘Dun nagsimula 'yung COVID." he said.

[Translation: The DOH and the authorities knew that these two were afflicted with COVID-19. In the Senate hearing we asked if they had done contact tracing because they knew who the passengers were. You know what they said? They had only contacted 17%. That's how COVID started.]

Being proactive and having foresight could have changed things, Lacson said.

"Anong sumunod? Di ba hindi natin pinagbawalan ‘yung mga turista galing Tsina kasi kaibigan daw natin ang Tsina. ‘Yun ang pagkakamali natin nung una pa," he added.

[Translation: What happened next? We allowed tourists from China in because we were told they were our friends. That was our mistake right from the start.]

He also said allowing private businesses and local government units to purchase vaccines could have helped.

"Alam ko ito kasi kausap ko ‘yung mga business sector. Yung mga malalaking negosyo nag-offer sila, 'kami na ang bibili para sa aming mga empleyado.' Anong ginawa ng gobyerno? Over regulation. Sa halip na maging friendly, sa halip na i-encourage, pinapahirapan," he said.

[Translation: I know this because I talked with the business sector. The big businesses offered to buy vaccines for their employees. What did the government do? Overregulation. Instead of being friendly and encouraging them, they made things more difficult.]

Had these been allowed, Lacson said, the rise in cases could have been avoided.

Lacson added that putting the right people in government posts is also crucial, citing PhilHealth as an example.

"PhilHealth, bakit NBI director ang naandiyan? Bakit retired military? Sa akin kung hindi man may background sa health sector, kailangan finance man ang nandiyan. Health insurance 'yan e," he said.

[Translation: Why is an NBI director in PhilHealth? Why a retired military person? For me, if not somebody with a background in the health sector, it should be a finance man because that's health insurance.]

Lacson's comments come after an earlier interview where he said President Rodrigo Duterte failed to make good on three advocacies: the war on drugs, the fight against corruption, and the assertion of sovereignty our over the West Philippine Sea.

These points, Lacson said, explain his "sayang" remark during The Jessica Soho Presidential Interviews on GMA-7 over the weekend.