Saksi fact-checks president’s claim that government did enough
VISIBLY IRRITATED during his latest TV appearance, Rodrigo Duterte reacted to criticism and complaints about the shortcomings of the government response to the pandemic. “Hindi kami nagkulang,” he argued; because, he said, within 48 hours of WHO’s declaration of the global outbreak, he had formed a task force.
Cheers to GMA-7’s late night newscast Saksi for its sharp and pointed coverage. Joseph Morong presented an 8-minute report that aired on April 17 that was a clear critique of the government’s pandemic response in three parts.
The first part presented the current state of the hospital system, highlighting the case of a 50-year old woman who died in a quarantine facility lacking medical facilities to treat her. Even after an entire year of varying states of lockdown, the government has failed to prepare for the possibility of a deadly surge of COVID-19 and its variants; although these had happened in many countries.
Morong showed that the problem was evident from the beginning. The second part documented the hesitation in January 2020 of both Duterte and Duque to close the country to travellers from China, which had already been identified as the disease epicenter. It showed a clip of the president saying that it “would not be fair.” Morong noted that in February 2020, Duterte downplayed the threat, saying “there is nothing really to be scared of that coronavirus thing.”
Morong’s timeline captured the government’s flip-flops on the travel bans and quarantine implementation, all of which betrayed government’s lack of understanding of the gravity of the challenge the country was facing.
The third part of the report went back to the inadequacies of the hospital system which in the entire year did not receive resources so they could improve or increase capacity and services. It also pointed to the failed mechanisms to check the disease – the slow start of testing, the failure of contact tracing and the current insufficient supply of vaccines.
CMFR recalls that Duterte had often said vaccines would be the only way to curb and end the pandemic. Morong capped this segment with another recorded presidential quote: “There is no sufficient supply to inoculate the world. Matagal pa to. Marami pang mamamatay. (This will drag on. Many more will die.)”
Unfortunately, GMA News took down the full 8-minute report hours after it was uploaded on their YouTube account. What remains on YouTube is a mere 2-minute report, taking out the painstaking review that corrected Duterte’s claim that he and his officials have done enough.