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Leni slams Rody’s pandemic response anew

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Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday questioned President Rodrigo Duterte’s pandemic response after his recent move to lift the travel restrictions amid the high cases of Covid-19.

“The policy should be data-driven. I don’t know why we have lifted (travel) restrictions now that our cases are very high,” Robredo said in her weekly radio program.

The vice president is pertaining to Duterte’s recent decision to relax the country’s border control by lifting the travel restrictions in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

[Related story: Travel ban on UAE, 9 other countries lifted]

“The big problems we are having now started there,” she added, referring to Duterte’s “sluggish” pandemic response at the start of the pandemic last year.

Robredo also lambasted Duterte’s “misplaced” budget priorities as the proposed budget of the Department of Health for 2022 does not include the special risk allowance of healthcare workers.

The proposed budget also showed a P170 million budget cut for the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine.

“Why would you do that? This is the most important function we need right now then you would reduce the budget for this. So I can’t understand it,” she said.

“It’s like there’s so much disconnect at the top,” she added.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque previously said that the health department initially asked for P73.99 billion in Covid-19 funds, but the Department of Budget and Management denied it.

Robredo also criticized Malacanang’s response to the alleged procurement of “overpriced” medical supplies.

Duterte in his taped public address on Thursday, compared the price of personal protective equipment (PPE) his administration procured to past administration’s purchase of PPE.

“It is a lame attempt to divert the discussion,” she said.

“The company that got the deal, how much was the contract? Around P10 billion. It’s a newly formed company, had a low capital, and employees with criminal records in Taiwan,” she added.

Robredo said that the government should have checked the backgrounds of the companies it is dealing with.

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