Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon last week criticized the Inter-Agency Task Force for employing the same methods against Covid19 but expecting different results.
“We are doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result,” he said. “We keep on doing prolonged lockdowns and hope that it will have a different result.”
The senator urged the government to follow the examples of the country’s Southeast Asian neighbors, like Vietnam and Taiwan, which had both been successful in controlling the spread of the virus. Prolonged lockdowns would remain fruitless without the 4Ts: testing, tracking, treating and teaching.
“We are failing in the four areas,” said Drilon.
He called for increased testing capacity, from the current 50,000 to 130,000 a day. Some have also slammed that Covid testing has become a business in the Philippines, while it is free in other countries.
“Business will come in where they see an opportunity,” he said. “Because government is not addressing this vital need of testing, the private sector comes in.”
The senator said that authorities’ credibility also influenced public behavior: “Here we have announcements that can change on a regular basis. When you have mañanita and people see this, you lose your credibility when you say social [distancing].”
“On the other end of the scale, why is Vietnam able to control it? Why is Taiwan able to control it? That is because from the start, they are able to do the correct process.”
Contacts and possible carriers need to be isolated to curb further transmission of the virus, but despite numerous contact tracing efforts that are mandated by government for all agencies and establishments, there still appears to be no rhyme or reason as to how this information is utilized. For one, the lockdowns should have been coupled with intensified tracing of exposed individuals.
Contact tracing chief and Baguio Mayor Benjamin Magalong previously admitted that the contact tracing ratio leaves much to be desired: from an original ratio of 1:7 (already way below the target of 1:27 to 1:36), it has shrunk to 1:3. After a year, it was reported that the country still had no unified contact tracing system.
Photo: Malaya Business Insight