The Palace on Tuesday dared Vice President Leni Robredo to come up with a solution to the COVID-19 pandemic, saying she might become the country’s top leader if she has one.
In a televised briefing, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said this as he asked Robredo to open her eyes and ears to the administration’s efforts in addressing the health crisis.
“I am challenging VP Leni. If she has a solution that doesn’t need a vaccine and a cure, reveal it. I’m sure she might just become president immediately if she could find one that doesn’t need a vaccine or medicine,” Roque said.
His remarks came after Robredo said President Rodrigo Duterte should not just wait for vaccines against COVID-19.
Robredo said this in response to the President’s latest tirades Monday night, where he mocked her for suggesting steps to respond to the ongoing pandemic.
President Duterte, criticized for his communication style and alleged reliance on military leaders to address the crisis, said in his speech that Robredo should spray pesticide throughout the country if she is determined to get rid of coronavirus.
The Chief Executive also slammed Robredo anew for her criticisms on the government’s handling of the crisis.
“Leni has been saying a lot of things. You know, Leni, if you really want to do away with COVID, from an airplane, spray pesticides in the entire Philippines or Manila to kill it all,” Duterte said.
“Do not add something to the pandemic by making such reckless statements that we are not doing enough,” he added.
Duterte said the government has been exhausting its resources to provide the medical equipment needed by hospitals amid the health crisis, but asked the public to wait for COVID-19 vaccines.
“What do you want? There are hospitals, beds, and funeral parlors. They are all there. What do you want? The microbes, the virus is flying around. That’s why you still have to wear a mask,” Duterte said.
Robredo, for her part, said that spraying pesticides would not suppress the continuous surge of COVID-19 cases.
She also emphasized that there is more to fighting the COVID-19 crisis than wearing masks and waiting for vaccines.
“I cannot help but have takeaways. It is not enough to have hospitals, beds, and funeral parlors, and saying that all we have to do is wait for vaccines,” Robredo wrote in a Facebook post.
She said the government should overcome humanitarian emergencies such as poverty, hunger, unemployment, and mental distress caused by the pandemic.
The vice president, who has been praised for running COVID-19 recovery programs despite her office’s measly budget, has also sent a comprehensive letter addressed to Roque last June 30 where she provided detailed suggestions on how to improve response efforts.
Roque, however, said Robredo’s suggestions are nothing new since these are being conducted by the administration.
“Open your eyes and ears so that we do not appear redundant in saying all about what the government has been implementing,” he said.