The government is open to discussing “specific and actionable” proposals to address the latest surge in coronavirus cases in the country, according to Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar.

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar

Andanar, however, dismissed the “recycled and counterproductive criticisms” that were supposedly meant to advance the political ambitions of some critics. He said these critics alleging the lack of leadership in the pandemic response were merely engaged in politicking and electioneering.

“The Duterte administration remains open and receptive to concrete discussions of specific and actionable suggestions to address the recent surge we are experiencing,” Andanar said in a statement Thursday, April 8.

“We welcome these, rather than the recycled and counterproductive criticisms that do not benefit anyone else, other than individuals with planned political endeavors,” he added.

Andanar said critics who claimed the nation was on “autopilot” were belittling the hard work of COVID-19 frontliners while those who decried the supposed “one horrific year” showed their “faulty understanding or bailiwick-driven politics.”

“We are dismayed by the recent comments that describe the government’s proactive responses to contain the recent surge of COVID-19 as lacking in leadership,” he said.

“Not only do these statements disregard the hard work and sacrifice of our medical frontliners and government officials, they are also an unnecessary form of politicking and electioneering at a time when we should be focusing on addressing the surge in cases,” he added.

Andanar attributed the latest spike in coronavirus cases to the emergence of new coronavirus variants, not on the supposed lack of government leadership. He said the effects of the more contagious variants have been seen not only in the Philippines but in other countries as well.

“To say that the Duterte administration’s response is on ‘autopilot’ is to belittle the expertise of those in the recommendatory and implementary bodies who have put in hard work and dedication to address the health issue since day one. These are people, experts on their field, who base their decision on data and information,” he said.

“Those critics skewed use of words such as ‘ningas cogon’ and ‘one horrific year’, while all highly quotable, reflect a faulty understanding or bailiwick-driven politics,” he added.

Senator Panfilo Lacson earlier expressed dismay that the country’s pandemic response seemed to be on “autopilot” with no one in charge. He was concerned the coronavirus has “has gone berserk” as the country’s cases of infections soared in recent weeks.

“The coronavirus has gone berserk. While it is on ‘at-will’ mode, we are like, on autopilot. We can’t feel someone is in charge. Sobrang malas!” he tweeted on April 5.

Senator Imee Marcos also previously said the country was back to square one after the daily cases soared past 8,000 late last month, a year after the first strict lockdown was enforced. She said the nation had endured “one horrific year” when people were forced to stay at home without income yet filled with anxiety.

The country’s coronavirus cases have exploded recently setting record numbers of active cases and deaths. As of April 7, the country logged 6,414 new cases, bringing the total number of active cases to 158,701. The country’s death toll has reached 14,059.

Source: Manila Bulletin (