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De Lima blasts gov't: COVID-19 deaths aren't just numbers, they're people

De Lima blasts gov't: COVID-19 deaths aren't just numbers, they're people

MANILA, Philippines—Senator Leila de Lima on Wednesday said that President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration should be held responsible for the thousands of COVID-19 deaths in the Philippines saying this is due to the government’s botched response to the pandemic.

In a statement, de Lima said that the 13,817 COVID-related deaths aren’t just mere numbers but people who’ve lost their lives due to the government’s failure.

“Nakakakilabot mabasa ang iba’t ibang kuwento ng mga kababayan nating hindi man lang nabigyan ng angkop na lunas dahil puno na ang mga ospital. Hindi sila basta numero. Totoong tao, totoong buhay, totoong pamilyang naulila at nagdurusa. At bawat araw, parami nang parami rin ang mga mahal sa buhay nating tinatamaan ng virus, at nalalagay sa peligro ang buhay,” wrote de Lima in her dispatch from Camp Crame.

(It’s sickening when you read about the stories of our countrymen who’ve never even given the proper care because our hospitals are full. They’re not just numbers, these are real people who had real lives, real families whom they’ve left and have now suffered. Every day, more and more of our loved ones are getting infected with the virus and being put in danger.)

“We ought to seek justice for all the Filipino lives lost due to this administration’s deplorable incompetence, negligence and botched pandemic response… We deserve better! The day of reckoning will come. Justice will be served. Panagutin ang mga palpak at pabaya sa tungkulin [The ones responsible for this mess should be held accountable]!”

As of Tuesday, the Philippines has recorded 812,760 with a record-high 382 additional cases on that day alone.

The country’s death toll stands at 13,817.

De Lima added that those in position to stop the effects of the pandemic in the country focused more on maintaining, she said, the alleged “friendly ties” with China and used a militaristic approach, instead of a medical one, in the health crisis.

She also hit the government’s rhetoric of blaming the new strains of the virus, the general supposed populace lack of discipline, and the rich countries’ ability to obtain the vaccines on why the pandemic is still running rampant.

“Remind us again who decided to open up the economy without an effective testing, tracing and treatment system in place? Or who ‘dropped the ball’ in the vaccine negotiations? Or who downplayed the threat of the virus way back in February last year?” quipped the opposition senator.

De Lima also called the administration “delusional” and that Duterte even downplayed the virus by saying “there’s nothing really to be extra scared of the coronavirus thing.”

“Mahigit isang taon na tayong nagdurusa sa pandemya pero ang tanging solusyon ng gobyerno ay Lockdown. Walang katapusang lockdown [We’ve been suffering from this pandemic for over a year now and the only solution the government can come up with is a lockdown. A never-ending lockdown],” said de Lima.

“We’re a year into the pandemic with nothing to show for it aside from a crumbling economy and a healthcare system on the brink of total collapse. We’re worse off than where we were a year ago.”

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, however, said the blame should not be put on the government, saying the surge in the number of COVID cases is due to happening not just in the Philippines but around the globe.

JPV

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