In an interview on PTV-4’s Laging Handa public briefing, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* Why the Anti-Terrorism Bill is urgent [21:12]
* DOH leadership woes in dealing with COVID-19 threat [23:15]
* National ID’s value amid pandemic [24:56]
* Implementing the GMRC Law [28:03]
Before a special session is called, it is best for the Executive Department and Congress to first agree on a mutually acceptable legislative measure to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the social and economic problems that beset our country. That way, we won’t be wasting our time.
However, as long as the Department of Health is incompetently led and the health issue cannot be addressed appropriately, we will be in a Sisyphus-like situation. Worse, we will just be throwing away our country’s very limited resources that could bring us neck-deep in debt with no solution in sight.
It’s bad enough that we will be forced to scrounge and even borrow just to augment our already limited funds. It’s infuriating if we lose it all – and more – to incompetence.
It’s about time. I can only hope that this time around, the investigation will bear fruit and find those concerned liable and suffer the consequences of their misdeeds in taking advantage of the COVID-19 crisis for self-aggrandizement.
In an interview on DWIZ, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* possible challenge vs Anti-Terror Bill before the Supreme Court [14:31]
* Sen. Drilon voted yes to anti-terror bill [7:04]
* blame game in COVID health workers’ P1M death benefits [29:53]
* Sec. Duque’s other obligations to health workers under Bayanihan Act [35:39]
* ‘removal’ of safeguard vs overpricing in Bayanihan 2 [44:33]
Many of us are starting to wonder what “amulet” DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III has to deserve such a special treatment.
While I do not and cannot question the presidential prerogative to hire and fire his Cabinet secretaries and other political appointees not protected by the civil service law, it is kind of boring to see Sec. Duque pointing fingers at his subordinates and other people for his pattern of failures in running the DOH – and getting away with it each time.
Now, he even blames his inadequacies and neglect on those who have not received the compensation allowances, by claiming that some of them have two wives.
Goodness gracious! Mr. Secretary, they are no longer around to defend or explain themselves.
The P1-million compensation is the least the government owes the families of these 32 fallen heroes. It’s in the law. The lack or absence of implementing rules and regulations should not be an excuse not to comply with the law.
* Special Risk Allowance to government health workers;
* Free medical expenses to public and private health workers;
* P100,000 allowance to public and private health workers who get infected by the coronavirus in the line of duty.
The app allows users to log interactions with other people; and do self-assessment if they experience symptoms. In just a few days of implementation, the local government has already signed up 42,000 out of the municipality’s 97,557 residents. For those without smartphones, the local government’s barangay and police personnel can input the information for them.
Meanwhile, in Baguio City, the local government under Mayor Benjamin Magalong is doing contact tracing using the EndCovid-19 system, which relies on the geographical information system (GIS) platform to plot the areas where possible COVID-19 carriers live – similar to that which he introduced when he was Cordillera regional police chief.
Combined with cognitive interviews and analytical tools, the system has made Baguio City a model for contact tracing.
With these technologies, we can potentially save P11.7 billion being asked by the Department of Health for contact tracers. I share Senate President Vicente Sotto III’s sentiment that there are more practical uses for the amount. These may include livelihood programs for those affected by the COVID-triggered lockdowns, among others.
Our national agencies, including the Department of Health, need not look far for contact tracing solutions that are effective, yet are not intrusive. Instead, they must take a cue from our LGUs. Especially given our limited resources, they can do no less.
Considering that the economy is reeling from a prolonged lockdown which directly affects not only individual and family income but the country’s revenue collections as well, thus draining the coffers like an open faucet, it is wise for our policy makers to ease up the restrictions currently being imposed.
As long as physical distancing and other protocols are strictly observed and enforced by authorities, I support this latest plan to allow business activities to resume, even on a limited scale.
Having said that, I hope the finer details of the decision to ease the quarantine restrictions would be based on sound data, and not just that of the Department of Health, whose limitations in handling data may potentially lead to wrong decisions. After all, we all do want to stay alive even during a lockdown.