We need a clear battle plan against COVID-19 — Cayetano

Former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Wednesday (April 7) said the most effective strategy in fighting the COVID-19 crisis is the combination of direct stimulus, economic stimulus, and a post-pandemic roadmap.

In an interview with reporters during the city government’s second round of distribution of emergency cash subsidy to 2,500 Taguigeños, Cayetano said the virus needs to be handled with foresight.

“Kailangan aabangan mo, uunahan mo. Kumbaga sa boksing, kailangan may 1-2-3 combination tayo na mabigat,” he said

(It has to be anticipated. If this were boxing, we have to have a heavy 1-2-3 combination.)

The former Speaker reiterated that directly providing people with cash aid will get the country’s economy back up and running while a larger economic stimulus with various financing strategies is in the pipeline.

The third most important action of the national government, Cayetano said, is to have a “blueprint” that will outline its vision for the Philippines in the next few years, particularly its concrete plans for the different sectors.

He said such predictability will allow businesses and enterprises to identify where to invest next.

“Every citizen should know what COVID is, how to fight it, and ano ‘yung battle plan… Hindi ‘yung hinihintay lang natin tapos, ‘Sorry nasorpresa kami eh,’” he stressed.

(Every citizen should know what COVID is, how to fight it, and what the battle plan is… We shouldn’t be waiting for things to happen and be told, ‘Sorry, we were caught by surprise.)

He said because the virus is evolving rapidly, the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, which develops the country’s plan to deal with the pandemic, must be “one step ahead” by crafting a battle plan instead of being “too reactive.”

“Ang Taguig naglaan ng 300 million para sa ayuda kung sakaling may mangyari this year. O bakit sa 2021 budget hindi tayo naglagay? Alam naman nating pwedeng biglang mag-surge ulit. Sabi nila hindi ine-expect – yes, but ‘di ba in a crisis we have to expect the unexpected?” the Taguig-Pateros Representative said.

(Taguig allocated P300 million for assistance in case something happens this year. So why didn’t we place something like that in the 2021 national budget? We all knew a sudden surge could happen again. They said it was unexpected — yes, but shouldn’t we be expecting the unexpected during a crisis?)

The former Speaker also said the resurgence of COVID-19 cases in the country could have been prevented had the concerned agencies carried out the provisions under Bayanihan 1 and 2.

“Kung kailan mabigat na ‘yung problema, saka tayo kikilos. Kung October, November, December, January, February gumawa na tayo ng field hospitals eh ‘di sana puno lahat ngayon. Kung kailan napuno, saka tayo gagawa,” he said.

(The problem is we act only when the problem becomes too heavy. If we had built field hospitals last October, November, December, and January, then the ones we have wouldn’t be full now. The problem is we are building now that the hospitals are full.)###