At the rate the leadership of the Department of Health is going, the number of deaths from COVID-19 in the Philippines might just eclipse those from the Spanish flu more than a century ago, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said Friday.
In a tweet, Lacson said the DOH under Secretary Francisco Duque III has so far conducted fewer than 100,000 tests, and has yet to run RT-PCR tests.
“With less than 100,000 tests so far conducted and quite a number of RT-PCR tests not yet run but just stored, we may outdo the Spanish flu of 1918 that lasted 36 months and up to 50 million deaths,” he said (https://twitter.com/iampinglacson/status/1256024424228089856).
“Filipinos don’t deserve to be the last race dying. DOH needs a leader who can lead,” he added.
Lacson was one of at least 14 senators who signed Resolution 362 last April 16, seeking Duque’s resignation for – among other reasons – his failure of leadership.
Senate Resolution 362, which called on Duque to resign due to his “failure of leadership, negligence, lack of foresight and inefficiency in the performance of his mandate as DOH Secretary, resulting in poor planning, delayed response, lack of transparency and misguided and flip-flopping policies and measures in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic that endangered and continues to endanger the lives of our health care professionals, other frontliners, and the Filipino people.”
In the resolution, the senators noted it was fortunate that President Rodrigo Duterte countermanded Duque’s “guideline” that no public funds shall be used to pay for any rapid antibody-based test kit.
Duterte had ordered chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. to immediately purchase two million rapid testing kits.
On April 17, Duque admitted in a radio interview that he has his shortcomings, and apologized for them.
Lacson said Duque’s admission is a first step to resolve the issue, adding the Senate may even commend him if he indeed does better.