Philippine Opposition petty politicking causing Filipino suffering under COVID-19 pandemic

Who is really politicking? The administration or the Opposition? Professor Randy David writes in his Inquirer piece “Politicking in the midst of a pandemic” of President Rodrigo Duterte’s address to the nation the other night saying that it is “insensitive, it is irresponsible, it is disheartening—and it leaves one wondering if the country’s highest public official has any notion at all of the gravity of the ongoing pandemic, and how it is affecting every aspect of our people’s lives.”

No president in his right mind should use his weekly meetings with his COVID-19 team to talk about his political plans when he finishes his term. But that is exactly what President Duterte did last Thursday in his address to the nation. He laid out what he intends to do if he is elected vice president in 2022.

David, however, is being selective in his indictment of the Duterte government by cherry-picking an episode and expounding on it out of its proper context. Indeed, it is actually the Opposition and not the incumbent administration he should be picking on. It began in 2016 and never stopped — not even to unite the country to combat the pandemic. The Opposition is, in fact, responsible for vaccine hesitancy. If there was no vaccine hesitancy then we wouldn’t be hitting record-high case numbers in the midst of the Delta-induced surge. Unfortunately, Opposition “influencers” like “social media expert” Noemi Dado who have tens of thousands of followers spread misguided opinions about vaccines that misled many people.

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Make no mistake, though. The administration is also at fault to some extent what with Senator Bong Go allowing hubris to get the better of him. The Opposition is also responsible for this development because they made Go popular by linking him to anomalies and the stupid opposition Senators calling him to the Senate “in aid of legislation.” When hubris hits you hard you begin to have delusions of grandeur like aspiring to become President.

I cringe at the thought of Bong Go as President. Majority of the public is of the same sentiment. The loyal aide is also dispossessed of gravitas. You cannot become President on the basis of “ang bisyo mag-serbisyo.” Even if he graduated from the De La Salle University (DLSU), I don’t think he has the intellectual capability to carry out the functions of the Presidency. You need to be politically-savvy to get legislation past Congress. Go’s power emanates only from his role as gatekeeper. That’s about it.

Those in the Opposition like David who believe that Inday Sara “Daughterte’s” statement the other day is part of the family zarzuela are not giving credit where it is due. Sara does not embrace the reputation of being the subservient daughter. She is, in fact, the family’s bastonera; the one who keeps everyone in line or makes them toe the line whenever they stray.

The revelations made at the Senate inquiry the other day landed Go in hot water. His reaction was to ask Health Secretary Francisco Duque to resign. That’s code for being the fall guy. The problem with the Opposition is they make it appear that their hands are clean when there were also anomalies during their time. Corruption goes both ways. The only difference now is we’re seeing more accomplishments because public funds have been cascaded and projects have been completed despite the nagging issue of absorptive capacity because of the bureaucracy. Whoever wins the Presidency should seriously address this.

The truth is the Ease of Doing Business Law hasn’t achieved its purpose because the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) has been consumed by the bureaucracy as well. Before this law, departments and agencies already had citizens’ charters but few were compliant. The perennial problem has always been enforcement. This is why the public should actually scrutinize candidates’ platforms instead of falling for gimmicks like free housing for informal settlers and the usual PR stunts of traditional politicians like Vice President Leni Robredo. If you think that a Mayor with only three years of experience is qualified to become President you’re dead wrong as well.

Platform of government is what’s important in these very trying and challenging times. What we need is innovation and out-of-the-box solutions to the problems we face moving forward in living with Covid in our midst. We’re now in the homestretch of the deadline for filing of certificates of candidacies. The political picture will get clearer in a month’s time. The Opposition should buckle down and do its homework.

6 Replies to “Philippine Opposition petty politicking causing Filipino suffering under COVID-19 pandemic”

  1. The present administration is causing mass human suffering with its draconian covid policies; masks, shields, lockdowns, mental illness, economic loss, and vaccines that don’t work. Yeah, what was it. Over 19k cases of the flu called covid? Wake up.

  2. She’s right. Why Sinovac? Why this government keeps on buying this expensive but low efficacy rate vaccine? You think it isn’t wrong?

    It’ s not politicking if the opposition is telling the truth. If you love your country, you wouldn’t defend politicians who are not doing things right. For once, don’t treat them as your family like you are obliged to defend them whataver happens even if they are making bad decisions under their administration. We should stick to science objectivity only. Facts and honest truth only for the sake of our country regardless of who is in power.

    1. Because it’s the only vaccine available that can be delivered asap that time and if the government keeps on buying sinovac, it is due to the urgency of the situation since other vaccine makers can’t immediately supply. So would you rather wait and risk the populace of dying or take whatever is available?

      1. Since the first quarter of this year, other vaccines are very much available, and can be delivered on time, more effective than Sinovac, and less expensive except Moderna if only that time this government was efficient and effective in handling covid 19 crisis but this government still inclines to buy Sinovac even up to now. To think only few countries are approving this vaccine which is detrimental to OFWs or those who like to go abroad in the future because they still need to be inoculated with other vaccine brands, this government still continues ordering Sinovac these days.

        We can’t blame Filipinos if they are hesitant to be vaccinated with Sinovac. Other Filipinos don’t favor Chinese product. You can see that in vaccination sites; if Pfizer, Moderna or J & J are available, many Filipinos would storm the sites, but when it comes to Sinovac, only few are lining up.

        1. I don’t think we have the actual data which one is cheaper or more expensive since you have to consider also the logistic and storage cost of some “lower” cost vaccine such as Pfizer which is required to be in sub zero temp unlike sinovac which you can store in a household freezer.
          Now regarding efficacy, do you really believe one is better than the other when all of these brands, a vaccinated person can still get infected? For me and as what i’ve heard from most doctors who advocates it, the best vaccine is whatever is available. The gov’t will continue to order ALL regardless of which brand it is or until everyone is vaccinated. We don’t have the luxury of time to be choosy.
          If there’s one group to blame for the hesitancy, then put it on Noemi Dado/their ilks and their xenophobic views who made a sudden reversal and even jumped on the queue to be injected with Sinovac as soon as it became available for the masses.

  3. The solution is less government. This wont happen (Maybe Lacsin would make some real changes), but the next president should eliminate thousands of governmental jobs/bureaucracy.

    They should take the tax money and give the people stimulus bi-monthly or quarterly because Filipinos love ayuda. There should be a push to establish a credit system so those who work, pay back bills, can move up in life. (Duterte couldn’t even implement a national ID system wfficiently….)

    They should get rid of most of the laws in the country that are not enforced.

    They should leave a small number of laws that the average Filipino can understand and the PNP should enforce them.

    They should have judges and lawyers wear hoods during trials (so their identity is secret).

    All these are pipe dreams, yes, but I would love to see a candidate actually get something done.

    Duterte accomplished one thing, the war on drugs, and did an efficient job at that. He also shut down ABS-CBN which was great, but he left GMA with its terrible teleseryes about revenge and other nonsense dumbing down the Filipino.

    Everything else he has done leaves a lot to be desired. He did not implement law and order. Corruption is still rampant. I am still hoping for a candidate to believe in.

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