Palace shrugs off senator’s criticism vs. Covid-19 response

Palace shrugs off senator’s criticism vs. Covid-19 response

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque and Senator Francis Pangilinan

MANILA – Malacañang on Monday shrugged off criticism made by Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan that the government is micromanaging the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic response following the designation of Cabinet officials as “big brothers” in charge of overseeing different local government units (LGUs).

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said he was not surprised by Pangilinan’s remark since 2022 elections are just around the corner.

“Alam ninyo naman malapit na eleksyon, reelectionist itong si Sen. Pangilinan. Hindi ako nagtataka sa mga maaanghang na salita niya (You know, elections are fast approaching, and Senator Pangilinan is a reelectionist. I’m not surprised by his harsh words),” he said in a virtual Palace briefing.

Roque defended anew the directive to assign members of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) in LGUs, saying it’s part of their effort to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the country.

“Everyone is doing their best dahil kapag tayo po ay pumalya, baka sariling pamilya rin namin ang mag-suffer sa Covid (because if we make a mistake, there’s a chance that our own family could suffer because of Covid),” he said.

He said members of the IATF-EID could not afford to be lenient against the Covid-19 threat, which could reach their own family members.

“We all have families; we all have to take care of them. So, all members of the IATF are giving their best shot because they know eventually it may enter their homes,” he said.

According to Roque, the government officials were simply being “dedicated”, knowing that their families could also suffer from the consequences of the prevailing health crisis.

Earlier, Roque said LGUs would not be stripped of their role in the continuing fight against Covid-19.

He said IATF-EID members would merely “push for the interest” of local governments in Metro Manila and its nearby provinces.

Resolution 62, approved by the IATF-EID on Wednesday, assigned members of the task force to provide “stronger” support to LGUs that continue to deal with high community transmissions within their respective localities.

It directed members of the IATF-EID to strictly monitor the LGUs’ health system performance, critical care capacity, and stringent compliance with surveillance, isolation, and treatment protocols.

Pangilinan earlier questioned the delegation of members of the IATF to provide “stronger” support to LGUs, describing it as “micromanagement.”

He said it could further slow the overall government response to the rising number of Covid-19 cases. (PNA)

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