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Tolentino defends Duterte from criticisms on COVID war plan

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

MANILA – Administration Senator Francis Tolentino has defended President Rodrigo Duterte from accusations that his administration has no solid war plan to cushion the socio-economic effects of the global coronavirus pandemic.

In his interpellation with Senator Risa Hontiveros, Tolentino has shot down the opposition lawmaker’s allegations that the chief executive has no clear economic recovery plan to from the impact of the dreaded COVID-19 during his recent fifth State of the National address (SONA) last week.

“Sa narinig ko sa SONA, napakarami pong guidance guidelines na inilatag ng Pangulo, lalo na sa ekonomiya,” Tolentino told Hontiveros.

Tolentino noted that Duterte’s plan is to intensify the government’s “Build, Build Build” program to help boost the economic activity in the country.

He also mentioned the President’s pronouncement on using the Coco Levy Fund and the availability of P66-billion agriculture stimulus fund as part of the government’s strategy on how to alleviate Filipinos from poverty.

Tolentino stressed that Duterte’s push to improve Internet connectivity in the country, loans for small and medium enterprises and paperless transactions in government are all part and parcel of his recovery plan.

“Ito po ay pagpapatunay na bagamat inaabot tayo ng isang napakalakas na unos, mayroon pong markers na inilagay ang ating Pangulo kung saan tayo pupunta,” he said.

Meanwhile, Tolentino added that Duterte’s decision to impose modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) in Metro Manila was a clear sign that he values the lives of Filipinos and he was listening to the people’s sentiment.

“Binanggit ng Pangulo na dapat i-prioritize ang buhay kumpara sa ibang konsiderasyon. Ito’y napatunayan nang nagbigay ng puwang ang Pangulo sa hiling ng ating medical frontliners na mag-adjust patungong MECQ,” he said.

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