MANILA, Philippines — As Malacañang hopes that the upcoming lockdown in Metro Manila from August 6 to August 20 would be the last ever, Vice President Leni Robredo suggests that the government take some steps to achieve this goal.
“Lahat ito puwede nang gawin, puwede nang trabahuhin, para maabot ‘yong pangarap na maging last lockdown na ito,” Robredo said in a statement on Wednesday.
(All of these can be done now so we can achieve our dream of this being the last lockdown.)
She said the government must ramp up coronavirus testing from the current 50,000 per day to at least 120,000 so that it can identify what areas that truly need attention.
The vice president added that the government must administer 750,000 vaccine doses a day so the country can reach herd immunity faster.
Department of Health data presented to the House health committee on Wednesday show that daily vaccinations have yet to breach the 700,000-mark and are only averaging at 529,911 doses daily.
Robredo also called on the government to quickly give out aid to those who would be affected by the lockdown and give support to small businesses.
While Malacañang has repeatedly stated that President Rodrigo Duterte’s marching orders is to hand out aid, it is still unclear where the government will source funds for this purpose.
Robredo also urged the government to create a centralized database of all contact tracing apps. The Department of Information and Communications Technology told the House health panel that they have accomplished this.
Robredo also said there is a need to be “hospital-ready,” especially in the face of an explosive surge in COVID-19 cases, which may lead to people dying without getting treatment.
“Tulungan na ang mga ospital na mag-hire na ng mga medical personnel. ‘Yong access sa gamot at oxygen, tiyakin, at bantayan ang nagsasamantala sa presyo,” she said.
(Let us help hospitals to hire medical personnel. Let us assure access to medicines and oxygen and let us be vigilant with price gougers.)
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said during the House hearing that they are preparing additional healthcare equipment, erecting new modular hospitals, adding telemedicine services, preparing transportation for healthcare workers and readying stockpiles of healthcare equipment.
Robredo said she and her office is always willing to help in any capacity, as they have been doing since the beginning of the pandemic through initiatives like offering free teleconsultation services and partnering with local government units for vaccination drives.
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