Hindi na nga sapat ay lalo pang pinalupaypay ng korapsyon ang pagtugon ng gobyerno sa lumalalang pananalasa ng Delta variant ng COVID-19.
Ito ang nagdadalamhating pahayag ni Senador Panfilo Lacson sa kasalukuyang estado ng mga hakbang ng pamahalaan sa paglaban sa pandemya kasabay ng pagsasalarawan na nakakapanlumo, nakakadismaya at nakakagigil ang mga nalalantad sa imbestigasyon ng Senado sa mga iregularidad sa pagbili ng mga gamit sa paglaban sa COVID-19.
Isiniwalat ni Lacson sa panayam sa kanya ng ANC na kabilang sa mga iregularidad na ito ay ang nabigong pagtatangka ni dating Department of Budget and Management Procurement Service head Christopher Lao para i-reclassify bilang “confidential” sa ilang mga empleyado ng ahensya.
“While the Delta variant is to be blamed, ang ma-blame mo rin government response. We’re not responding accordingly sa prevailing situation. To make matters worse, may corruption involved. Naroon ang problema,” ayon kay Lacson.
Corruption is weighing down the government’s already insufficient response to the heightened threat from COVID-19 due to the Delta variant of the coronavirus, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson lamented Thursday.
Lacson described as “disheartening, frustrating and revolting” the signs of corruption that have emerged so far in the Senate’s investigation into irregularities in the procurement of medical supplies to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
These irregularities range from the failed attempt of former Department of Budget and Management Procurement Service head Christopher Lao to reclassify some employees as “confidential” to the Food and Drug Administration’s changing the rules on procurement, Lacson said in an interview on ANC.
“While the Delta variant is to be blamed, ang ma-blame mo rin government response. We’re not responding accordingly sa prevailing situation. To make matters worse, may corruption involved. Naroon ang problema (While the Delta variant is to be blamed for our situation now, government response is not free from blame because we’re not responding accordingly to the prevailing situation. To make matters worse, there is corruption involved. There lies the problem),” he said.
It is sad that as individuals, we have developed this wrong attitude of checking on our medicine cabinets at home only when somebody already gets sick or hurt, when we should always be prepared with making available medicines for common colds, cough, fever as well as unexpected injuries and emergencies.
But it is pathetic that our national health authorities are no different, being reactive instead of proactive. Knowing the Delta variant has already gripped India and Indonesia, it seems they have not prepared adequately.
The reports involving the vessels from Indonesia that moored in Butuan – where the crew became potential spreaders of the Delta variant – are a case in point to highlight that “medicine cabinet” attitude of our authorities. It seems nothing has changed from early 2020, when our health officials failed miserably in the conduct of contact tracing on the fellow passengers of a Wuhan couple who traveled from Cebu to Dumaguete and Manila. Worse, government refused to close our borders to travelers from Mainland China when we already knew that the first known COVID-19 patient came from Wuhan, China in December 2019.
That said, the first order of the day for the next leader of the country is to scout for a more qualified and better person at the helm of the Health Department, and make sure that business and health don’t mix especially during a time of extreme emergency like the pandemic.
Also, the public sector must always take the lead and initiative from the private sector in addressing health emergencies, but not to a point of discouraging the latter from being partners in the endeavor. For, if the private sector has taken the initiative, it can only mean that the government is failing to address the problem at hand. Sadly, it is what is happening.