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Robredo to Duterte: Wearing masks, waiting for vaccine ‘not enough’ to fight pandemic

Vice President Leni Robredo clapped back at President Rodrigo Duterte after he lashed out at her for criticizing his government’s inadequate response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Robredo said in a Facebook post late Monday night, September 21, that there is more to fighting the COVID-19 crisis than just wearing face masks and waiting for a vaccine. 

“Watched the regular Monday press con tonight. ‘Di ko matiis magkaroon ng takeaways. Hindi yata sapat na basta may ospital, kama at punerarya, ang kailangan na lang gawin ay maghintay ng vaccine,” Robredo said.

(Watched the regular Monday press con tonight. I can't help but have my takeaways. I think it's not enough that just because we already have a hospital, bed, and funeral parlor, all we need to do is just wait for a vaccine.)

On Monday, the President once again defended his administration’s COVID-19 recovery efforts, arguing that the "only" thing people could do "is wear a face mask and that's it, wait for a vaccine.”

Duterte also taunted Robredo, saying they should just hop aboard an airplane then spray pesticide over the entire country or Manila “so everyone dies.”

What was the Vice President's response? She once again outlined what she believes are the “main challenges” that should be addressed during the health crisis:

  • Suppressing the pandemic by means of medical and non-medical interventions
  • Overcoming humanitarian emergencies like poverty, hunger, unemployment, and mental distress caused by the pandemic
  • Restructuring public and private finances in the wake of the pandemic
  • Rebuilding the economy in an inclusive, resilient, and sustainable way.

“‘Yong number 1 po, hindi ma-sosolusyunan sa pag-spray ng pesticide sa Manila galing sa eroplano,” Robredo said with a smiling emoji. (The first bullet point won't be solved by spraying pesticide over Manila from an airplane.)

Since the crippling coronavirus pandemic hit the country, the Vice President has been praised for running COVID-19 recovery programs for various sectors despite her office’s measly budget. (READ: 'Not time to keep score:' Robredo focuses on frontliners, not politics)

Robredo has also managed to offer concrete and comprehensive proposals to Malacañang to help boost the government's response to the public health crisis. 

It’s a stark contrast to Duterte’s winding speeches and his government’s constant changing of rules that often contradict each other

Instead of acknowledging the Vice President’s proposed solutions, Duterte accused her of fueling the public’s anger. 

Robredo, however, stood her ground and said it is her duty as a Filipino to call out the government’s lapses. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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