As it faces more challenges in the second year of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government should be more open to constructive criticism as well as the efforts of the private sector, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson said Saturday.
Lacson also said the government should evaluate the actions it has taken so far and sustain the strengths while addressing the weaknesses of its response.
“Now is the time for an evaluation, what the government did right and what it did wrong,” he said in an interview on DWIZ radio.
“Instead of rejecting constructive criticism, it should accept it as part of their planning and continuing assessment. Our aim is to call their attention to things they may not realize. No one has a monopoly of wisdom and knowledge,” he added.
He said this is critical especially in the light of an alarming spike in the number of new COVID cases per day, from 600 a few weeks ago to more than 4,000 in recent days.
Lacson cited as well the challenge of laying out contingency plans to bring the newly arrived vaccines to bring them to remote areas and inoculate the people there.
“The plans should not be limited to slideshow presentations. Pagdating sa demo, perfect. Pero baka hindi napag-aralan ang ibang challenges na practical ang application, hindi na-anticipate. Kaya dapat tuloy-tuloy ang pag-aaral,” he said.
Also, Lacson said the government must use its resources efficiently for procuring and rolling out vaccines, with the national debt at some P10.33 trillion, and with an additional $900 million in loans for COVID response.
“If we allow years for the pandemic to pass because we failed to implement our plans, we might end up being a pariah. No one will come here and no one will receive our Filipinos abroad. That is something to consider,” he said.
Meanwhile, Lacson reiterated his call for greater participation by the private sector and local government units in vaccination efforts.
He cited his experience as Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery (PARR), where he witnessed how the private sector greatly helped in the rehabilitation of areas hit by Super Typhoon Yolanda – much faster than the government, whose efforts were slowed by bureaucratic procedures. Lacson had pushed for the participation of the private sector in the Reconstruction Assistance for Yolanda (RAY).
“The private, especially the business sector, is the national government’s natural ally. Aside from their patriotism and corporate social responsibility, they cannot afford to have their employees get hit by COVID because their business will suffer, thus their willingness to help. Should we not grab such an opportunity?” he said.