BY CHRYSEE G. SAMILLANO
Vice President Leni Robredo said she will prioritize the improvement of COVID-19 response initiatives in the country, as well as offer incentives to those who are hesitant to get vaccinated for their protection against the deadly virus, if given a chance to become President in 2022.
“The first thing l will do is to control and mitigate the effects of the pandemic because we cannot move on if we experience a surge after every few months,” Robredo said during her recent visit to Bacolod City and Negros Occidental with her running mate Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan.
“For me, the COVID response of the national government is very wanting and it is our obligation to criticize the government or all of us who will suffer,” she said.
Robredo said they have come up with their own COVID response initiative platform, and that since March last year, they have been making suggestions to the national government on how to improve this.
Based on assessments made by all international bodies on COVID response initiatives of many different nations, the Philippines always ranked last, she said.
“We are always marked as the least resilient and this is something we should not be proud of. When we started we may not know how to respond. But we have a lot of best practices from where we can derive a lot of lessons from that we can just adopt,” Robredo said.
The Vice President also said that if the country continues to obtain loans and this does not redound to the benefit of the people, this will be paid by our children and future generations. But if the result of the loan will be able to stop the transmission of the virus, then that is a good loan.
Obtaining a loan is not necessarily bad as long as it is controlled and used for a good purpose, Robredo added.
Meanwhile, Robredo said she is in favor of giving incentives to those who do not want to be vaccinated rather than penalizing them.
The proposal to make vaccination mandatory may entail penalties to be imposed on those who do not want to be inoculated, she said.
Incentivizing would be better than penalizing, Robredo said citing that in the course of all their COVID response operations, they have always incentivized people rather than punish them for not willing to do certain things.*