Giving President Rodrigo Duterte the stage to speak on government’s efforts in containing the pandemic is probably one of the government’s biggest boo-boos.
If the aim was to enlighten citizens on the risks of the virus and the importance of social distancing and self-isolation, a rambling Duterte was the last person you’d want to get facts on COVID-19 from, according to University of the Philippines professor Randy David..
“When the coronavirus was not yet a threat to Filipinos, I remember calling on our government to let the scientists and experts speak so the public may understand the threat that is killing thousands of people elsewhere. Instead, in an obvious attempt to leverage his high trust ratings, President Duterte was repeatedly put on center stage to brief the nation. It was a disaster,” said David in his Inquirer column.
“He clearly did not know what he was talking about, and, worse, he mocked the importance of understanding the nature of the public health crisis that loomed before us,” he added.
David said with clashing interests of government, businesses, schools and families going to the fore in the last two weeks of the lockdown, the people need to hear the calm and authoritative voice of scientists rather than politikos.
“In these uncertain times, we will increasingly need to turn to science to enlighten us, and to the wellsprings of our faith to summon the best in us,” said David.