On the Vice President’s latest remarks

We find it unfortunate that Vice President Ma. Leonor “Leni” Robredo, notwithstanding President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s call to stop finger-pointing, has once again engaged in nitpicking to criticize the government’s COVID-19 response.

We have been as transparent about our lapses as we are about our gains, and as we have said in previous occasions, fighting COVID-19 is a collective effort. It is a whole-of-government approach.

The Executive has no monopoly of good ideas and deeds and we have to stress that the effects of COVID-19 have been unprecedented. No country in the world would proudly announce that it has been prepared to meet the challenges posed by the pandemic. We therefore welcome inputs from all sectors, including constructive ideas from the political opposition, to improve our delivery of services.

The remarks of the Vice President that the national government is in a state of self-denial or praising its actions are hence baseless.

The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) has been meeting round-the-clock to constantly review its policies and guidelines, where the good and applicable ones are continued while those proven to be ineffective are replaced for better ones. This is evident on the number of times we have amended the guidelines. The Office of the President, too, has been submitting weekly reports to Congress.

We find the action of the Vice President, which is looking at the glass half-empty — focusing on the shortcomings just to score political brownie points at the expense of the Administration — totally unwarranted.

With regard to the information in the President’s reports to Congress, which the Vice President described as “kulang,” aforesaid reports contain the focal points of the different agencies of the government. The complete details are with the respective Departments, including their Bureaus and Agencies, which have been communicating to the public through regular briefings, interviews, webinars and printed reports/updates. The Vice President or her research staff should have checked this as well.

As the concurrent IATF Spokesperson, I call on VP Robredo to simply request the information she wanted from the concerned offices in the Executive Department. Also, I enjoin her not to hesitate in sending her valuable inputs, and I will make sure her concrete ideas will be tabled for discussion in future IATF meetings. This is how we work for the common good.