President Rodrigo Duterte has placed the cart before the horse when he insisted that his administration’s roadmap in response to the COVID-19 pandemic will be made only when the anti-viral vaccine is available.
Without a roadmap pending the availability of the vaccine, the Duterte administration cannot simply watch the beleaguered Filipinos and the distressed businesses stumble by the roadside.
The President forgets that the containment of the spread of the viral infection, free mandatory mass testing, effective treatment of those infected and protection of the healthcare frontliners must be prioritized and intensified without delay while the country is accessing the anti-viral vaccine which is being produced by other countries.
Duterte cannot simply wait for the contingency of the vaccine’s availability while the contagion continues to ravage the country with almost 100,000 found positive and 2,023 have already died, including healthcare frontliners.
Integral to the immediate roadmap is the requisite appropriation needed for the Philippines to secure the vaccine without depending on the generosity of other countries which could demand onerous repayment in other forms.
The country must be prepared financially to compete in the scramble for the vaccine.
The President also ignores that the pandemic did not only inflict on the Philippines a health crisis but an economic downturn which will have to be addressed with alacrity irrespective when the vaccine can be procured.
EDCEL C. LAGMAN