Pangilinan on Sona 2020: Why no mention of Duque, Philhealth officials?
MANILA, Philippines — The removal from office of Health Secretary Franciso Duque and alleged corrupt officials of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) should have been announced during the President’s fifth State of the Nation Address amid alleged corruption in the agency.
This was the expectation of Senator Francis Pangilinan, among others, when President Rodrigo Duterte delivered his Sona on Monday.
However, there was no mention of Duque nor the alleged corruption in Philhealth during the President’s speech.
“It seems that the problem of the still-spreading COVID-19 and the subsequent economic collapse will not be solved,” the senator said in a statement.
He noted that concrete plans in addressing the coronavirus pandemic, easing hunger and unemployment of Filipinos, mass testing and contact tracing were likewise not mentioned in the speech.
“Not mentioned was how to fast-track the distribution of the second tranche of ayuda that until now has not been received by many. Also not mentioned were the widespread irregularities and corruption in PhilHealth, and the overpriced medical equipment,” he added.
For her part, Senator Risa Hontiveros denounced how the President assailed his critics and ranted about his personal grudge against the media, instead of baring a comprehensive plan for the country in combating COVID-19.
She also noted how the death penalty and the drug war, among others, were prioritized in the speech, instead of a health and an economic roadmap in resolving the health crisis.
“Gusto ko lamang ipaalala, Mr. President, COVID-19 ang kalaban, hindi ang taumbayan, hindi ang mga aktibistra, hindi ang media,” she said in a separate statement.
“The President uttered the same incoherent statements that did not present a health and economic roadmap that could lead us through this pandemic. Issues of unemployment and hunger were not directly addressed. Walang trabaho at gutom ang mga Pilipino, pero ang mga isyu — death penalty, drug war, at kung anu-ano pa,” Hontiveros added.
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