Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has urged the government to refrain from making insensitive and arrogant remarks in the duration of the national public health crisis precipitated by the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country.
De Lima said majority of the Filipino people expect assurance from the government as they struggle to adjust their daily lives with the imposition of “enhanced community quarantine” aimed to contain the further spread of coronavirus.
“This is the height of arrogance and insensitivity! Napakawalang-hiya! But this is expected, coming from Salvador Panelo, the spokesperson of a murderous, anti-poor regime,” she said in her recent Dispatch from Crame 739.
“This is how you reassure your fellow Filipinos in a life and death emergency, “walang namamatay sa gutom.” As you are the presidential mouthpiece, should we assume that the government is asking the people to just wait and suffer because safety nets for our survival, especially for the poor, do not exist?,” she added.
In a news briefing, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo reportedly said that nobody will die of hunger as the government imposes enhanced community quarantine that suspended public transportation and some business operations.
The lady Senator from Bicol said Panelo and other government officials who speak to clarify Mr. Duterte’s directives should be reminded that there are workers who live on daily wages, and that no work for them means no salary for a day.
“Maraming mahihirap ang arawan ang sahod, Mr. Panelo. Walang sapat na kakayanan upang mag-imbak ng pagkain at iba pang pangunahing kailangan sa gitna ng isang public health emergency. Araw-araw, kailangan nilang kumayod upang hindi magutom ang pamilya,” she said.
“Matagal na silang nagtitiis sa gutom kung hindi man sa takot na baka sa susunod sila naman ang target ng drug war niyo. Of course, you know this, you just don’t care, coming from your seat of privilege,” she added.
To date, local health authorities have reported a surge of COVID-19 infections across the country, with at least 17 people who have already died while 217 others are confirmed to have contracted infection.
De Lima urges the Filipino public to make some sacrifices and cooperate with the health authorities’ stringent measures to combat COVID-19.
De Lima, who chairs the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development, called government’s attention to the plight of the “least of us” in poor communities, including the urban poor, the labor force and the detainees in jails and detention centers as they are vulnerable to the spread of the COVID 19 virus.