of President Rodrigo
Duterte find it dumb
when he admitted the
lack of vaccines in the
Philippines? The president, during his talk
to the nation on April
15, 2021, said the only
vaccines we had were
those we got from China. “When will we have
the stocks sufficient to
vaccinate the people? I
really do not know. Nobody knows.”
Coming from the president, I found the statements
dumb. I remember that a week after his 2020 State of
the Nation Address (Sona), President Duterte proudly
revealed that his plan against Covid-19 revolved around
getting vaccines. In the following months, there was
this frenzy to secure vaccines from suppliers, be these
donated or purchased, by the national administration
and local governments units. However, December
2020 came. Other countries began their vaccination
campaigns. The first batch of donated vaccines from
China arrived only in Feb. 2021. An enthusiastic President Duterte personally met the arrival at the airport.
He then promised to personally visit China soon and
personally thank the Chinese President Xi Zinping.
But when will sufficient stocks arrive so the country
can start seriously start the vaccination program for 70
million Filipinos and thus achieve herd immunity hopefully by the end of the month? After all these time, President Duterte saying he does not know when vaccine
stocks will be enough makes him look dumb if he is not.
In another message, President Duterte said many
will die because of the lack of vaccines. Still in another
message, the president described as “maliit na bagay”
the recent rise in Covid-19 cases especially in Metro
Manila. Suffering from a mild Covid-19 case here in
Cebu, I know Covid-19 is not ‘maliit na bagay.’ Still, I
had all the time reading about these developments. I
could only ask if President Duterte is dumb, just outof-touch, or both?
President Duterte suddenly disappears without a
word for two weeks as his aides say some presidential
guards got positive. When he showed himself, he went
into a tirade against detained senator Leila de Lima.
Vice President Leni Robredo, on the other hand,
cancels a trip and posts an explanation on her Facebook. A close-in bodyguard got positive. This meant
Robredo had also to go into quarantine. However, because she was asymptomatic, her spokesman Barry
Gutierrez said, she continued supervising her projects.
(Emmanuel Mongaya is co-founder and director for
Strategic Communications of PRWorks Inc. He is also
a member of the Political Officers League of the Philippines (POLPHil). DM @anol_cebu)