Press Release
March 31, 2020

Statement of Senator Risa Hontiveros on the President's
Late-Night Address to the Nation re COVID-19

The President's late-night talk show last night was the prelude to a night of bad sleep, to the detriment of the Filipino people's regular sleeping hours and overall health. After almost 8 hours of delay, the public was presented with neither a sound assessment nor a concrete plan to address the novel coronavirus disease or COVID-19 crisis.

The President failed to assess how the Enhanced Community Quarantine has addressed our nation's fight to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus or COVID-19. The public has the right to know of the government's progress since the start of the Quarantine, a virtual lockdown.

The Quarantine is essential at this time to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. But it cannot stand alone. For the lockdown to be effective, it should be backed up by intensified actions to increase the capacity of our health system, conduct mass testing, and protect our health workers at the frontlines. But the President's address last night was lacking in all those terms. The usual threats and incoherence do not a report make.

With all the funds and special powers at his disposal since last week's signing of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, the President should act with a sense of urgency. What are the steps being taken by the government to enhance our capacity for mass testing? How do we ensure that there are enough personal protective equipment [PPE] in every hospital? How do we get the cash assistance to the most vulnerable as soon as possible? So far, the President provided no clear answers to these questions. It is alarming.

Kailangan na ng taumbayan ang tulong na dapat sa kanila. Time is of the essence. For us to effectively defeat COVID-19, the

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