Binay repeats call for Duque’s resignation: More pandemic solutions than distributing face masks, shields

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 24)— Senator Nancy Binay on Wednesday repeated the call for Health Secretary Francisco Duque III to step down from his post, saying the latter may not be the “best person” to handle the current pandemic problem in the country.

“I still believe na baka (that perhaps) Secretary Duque is not the best person to handle our COVID problem, lalo na ngayon (especially now),” Binay told CNN Philippines’ The Source.

Binay specifically pointed out an instance when Duque personally went on the ground to distribute face shields to residents — a video of which has gone viral on social media, drawing flak from netizens. Duque, in the clip, was seen reminding citizens to follow the minimum health protocols.

The senator said she was bothered by the fact that the country’s top health official had to do this job— when there are a lot of better ways to address the pandemic.

Nakakalungkot at nakaka-bother na ‘yung Secretary of Health natin ay ang ginagawa, namimigay ng face shield, ‘diba?” Binay argued. “The solution is a lot bigger than distributing face shields or going out in public reminding them to wear their face masks.”

She added there are a lot of government staff that could have done this kind of on-site activity.

As early as April last year, majority of the senators appealed for the immediate resignation of Duque for what they said was his inefficient response to the coronavirus crisis. The calls, however, were rejected by President Rodrigo Duterte, who has repeatedly expressed his confidence in the health chief.

RELATED: Lacson to Duterte: What ‘amulet, magic potion’ does Duque have for staying in office?

‘Steps behind in pandemic response’

Meanwhile, Binay said she also agrees with some officials’ observation that the country seems to be falling “ten steps behind” in the COVID-19 pandemic response — with cases surging by the day.

She also echoed her colleagues’ call for the abolition of the Inter-Agency Task Force, citing the need for “major changes” when it comes to the country’s policy makers.

“They had one year to fix the problem, but nasaan na tayo ngayon (where are we now)? We are worst off, ‘di ba?” Binay said.

IATF and Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque meanwhile rejected this appeal.

COVID-19 cases nationwide reached 677,653, with 5,867 new virus infections reported on Tuesday.