THE Department of Health has dropped the ball on COVID-19. Dropped it big time.
Dropped it many times. They first dropped it when the Secretary refused to ask for a travel ban on China early on, saying that it might cause diplomatic and political problems. In effect, he was choosing to please a powerful neighbor at the expense of the Filipino public’s health.
The DOH dropped the ball again, big time, when the Secretary refused to say that we had community transmission after the Greenhills case. His reason? Because it was only one infection. Only one. Jeesas. Frankly, that was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me and convinced me that this Secretary has to go.
If someone was infected, how did he get it except from someone else? Unless, as I posted on Facebook, we now had a theory of “immaculate infection”?
The Sec of Health is way out of his league. I don’t think he has what it takes to manage a crisis. And his presence only makes things worse.
But to be fair to the DOH and the Health Secretary they can share blame with the Immigration Bureau and the pastillas scheme. Think about it: every foreigner allowed to enter the country under this scheme could have been a potential COVID carrier. So if the virus is out there, lurking in a mild form waiting for the right host, it could very well be thanks to corrupt Immigration officials who have 13 pieces of silver in their pockets that have put our health at risk.
Should we be mad? You bet. And we should demand that heads roll. And not be recycled.
But given where we are, though, I believe we need to focus our attention on getting our LGUs to wage an “all out” war on COVID, staging street by street info and even assessment drives. Our dynamic mayors in Metro Manila are well positioned to provide their constituents credible leadership; the DOH should remain in the background and the Secretary even further away.
Francis Zamora (and Lino Cayetano to a lesser degree) has enough reason to swing into war mode. Isko and Vico and Joy should prepare because it may be just a matter of time before one of their constituents get it. They have the very crucial local network to get every constituent talking about this at home and discussing what we can do individually to slow the spread of COVID until it dies away. And if local quarantining needs to be enforced it is they who can do it using persuasion.
So let’s get moving LGUs. Let’s win this war. And then when the dust settles let’s focus on the DOH and the Immigration Bureau and demand that they take responsibility for their incompetence and/or corruption.