Romualdez: House working on solution to virus crisis

Martin Romualdez
Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez

HOUSE Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez on Thursday assured the public that the House of Representatives is now consolidating a draft health proposal that would help win government’s war against coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19).

Romualdez made his statement during Thursday’s House Defeat COVID-19 Ad Hoc Committee technical working group’s (TWG) virtual meeting, which he and Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano co-chaired.

“Now is a time of unity and cooperation. Rest assured that the House of Representatives is working towards crafting a solution to help ensure the promotion of public health and safety, the delivery of basic goods and services, the upliftment of the economy, and the restoration of livelihood of many of our countrymen,” Romualdez told the TWG virtual meeting via Zoom application.

“We will continue working with the national government. We are helping gather the best minds in the land, hoping to move them together as a single unit in search of solutions to our present woes. Together, we shall mobilize all resources in our arsenal so that we could win the war against this pandemic the soonest time possible,” Romualdez stressed.

As of press time Thursday, the Health and COVID-19 Response Cluster, co-chaired by Quezon Rep. Helen Tan, the chairperson of the House committee on health, and House senior Deputy Minority Leader and Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin were expected to present their recommendations and suggestions to fight COVID-19.

“We are also fortunate to be given the opportunity to hear presentations from some of the country’s best health professionals, including three former Health Secretaries who had direct experience in handling public health emergencies the previous years due to the onslaught of corona viruses,” said Romualdez.

In his message during the hearing, Health Sec. Franciso Duque said the last three months have been difficult for the Department of Health (DoH) and the entire health sector as he asked for unity and cooperation in the fight against COVID-19.

This developed as majority of senators, including President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte’s close allies have asked for Duque’s immediate resignation due to his alleged "failure of leadership, negligence, lack of foresight, and inefficiency in the performance of your mandate."

The senators also cited alleged "poor planning, delayed response, lack of transparency, and misguided and flip-flopping policies" in their demand for Duque to quit his job.

Health Undersecretary Dr. Lilibeth David underscored the three strategies that include “detect, isolate and treat” to eliminate COVID-19.

She assured that DoH has been always increasing its COVID-19 testing capacity and eyeing 8,000 per day from its present maximum capacity of 3,400 David said the country has now 16 testing centers with 37 pending applications and already tested almost 50,000 samples.

Philippine Health Insurance (PhilHealth) President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ricardo Morales said the government will adjust to modify the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) for economic reason, admitting that COVID-19 will stay.

Former Health secretaries Dr. Manuel Dayrit and Dr. Esperanza Cabral also made their respective presentations.