In battling COVID-19, the Philippines approach has been very sensitive and more in population management, rather than emphasizing going to experiments to find and isolate the virus from further spread.
In fact, the increasing number of COVID cases and the number of deaths was due to unavailability of testing and validation of the cases during this time. Some would consider this situation a case underreporting, as it did not really represent people’s actual health condition.
The President set a meeting for the leaders of the 18th Congress, including Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano to sit with the IATF representatives headed by Health Secretary Dr. Francisco Duque III at malacanang. Clearly, this was to take into account the political implications of the ECQ and COVID-19 relevant concerns and matters.
But the President’s most critical conference was to speak with the retired Department of Health (DOH) secretaries – all of the medical doctors themselves having worked under prior administrations. Ex-DOH Secretaries included Janet Garin, Esperanza Cabral, Jaime Galvez-Tan and Susan Mercado. Invited were also doctors Anthony Leachon, Ana Lisa Ong Lim, Marissa Alenjandria, Katherine Ann Reyes and Alfredo Lagmay, from other public and private health and medical practitioners. For a shift, we see a policy strategy that is more consultative in seeking to get feedback and advice from both health and medical agencies, and specialists.
It will be well to defer to the men and women in white coats in a public safety situation like the COVID-19 contagion that filipinos are experiencing now.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque, who attended the meeting with ex-DOH officials, noted that there seemed to be nearly a consensus among them on implementing a updated or easing other ECQ regulations without sacrificing the safety of good Filipinos from COVID-19. Roque reported President Duterte talked sparingly but listened to the individual briefings more.
Before changing public safety and social interventions, They mentioned the following official provisional recommendations from the WHO to COVID-affected countries:
• COVID-19 spread is regulated
• Adequate public health personnel and health system capabilities are in place
• Disease threats are reduced in high exposure settings
• Preventive strategies are identified in the workplace
Through this the current actions that the government has set to the country was getting strict with Enhanced Communiy Quarantine by assigning militaries in each cities. In on-going businesses, social distracing is stricly implemented and using face mask when people need to go for groceries.
The command was also distributed to the LGUs to go with their initial COVID-19 testings to ensure the safety of people in each cities. They also provided some fund for the continuation of distributing relief goods.
The President is still working on the budget that will spend for accumulation of testing kits and possible vaccines to help the reduction and cure for COVID-19 patients. So far, the government are still having a hard time in choosing the best strategy in eliminating the virus.
As they continue to work on the possible ways to gather the budget for testing kits, vaccines and frontliner’s needs to treat the patients, may it be a good sign for developments, recoveries and wiser decisions in handling the crisis.