Focus on COVID-19, not charter change, Robredo tells government officials

Cathrine Gonzales

MANILA, PHILIPPINES (INQUIRER/ANN) — The Philippines Vice President Leni Robredo called on government officials last Sunday to focus on response efforts to the COVID-19 pandemic instead of charter change, which she said was not timely.

Robredo made this suggestion after it was reported that over 1,000 mayors would campaign for the Duterte administration’s drive for charter change to empower local authorities.

“Our target now should be everything that will help prevent the transmission of COVID-19 here,” she said in Filipino in her weekly show on AM radio, BISErbisyong LENI.

She also lamented that the government seemed to be busy with other matters.

“We are busy with a lot of things, like the anti-terror law and shutting down ABS-CBN, which are not solutions to the COVID-19 crisis,” she said. She also noted that in other countries the situation amid the pandemic was slowly returning to normal.

“So I hope what we should focus on now is — and I have always said this is: All hands on deck. I hope what we’re looking at is COVID-19 because so many are suffering because of that,” Robredo said.

The government, she added, should focus on helping Filipinos cope with so many jobs and businesses lost during the pandemic.

Robredo likewise suggested that funds to be used for charter change be used instead for COVID-19 test kits, as well as for hospitals reaching their full capacity for coronavirus patients.

“I hope we will take care of that. We are thinking about a lot of things that do not help in the COVID-19 response. If they want to talk about charter change, talk about it, but perhaps not at this time,” she said.