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Angara on COVID-19 crisis: “We need a problem solver and a crisis manager at this point”

Angara on COVID-19 crisis: “We need a problem solver and a crisis manager at this point”


Nearly a month after his recovery from COVID-19, Senator Sonny Angara has recently tested positive for the virus and was prompted self-quarantine once again. In an official  statement he explains that:

In a Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP)  forum via Zoom last Apr. 22, however, he was able to discuss his previous experience with COVID-19, the reason behind his and 14 other senators signing a resolution for Health Secretary Francisco Duque’s resignation, the implementation of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, as well as a fearless forecast on the ECQ extension. 

Angara, who tested positive for COVID-19 last Mar. 16, shared that having the disease initially felt like a “regular flu.” He then had to be confined after his X-ray showed that his lungs were infected, after which he was treated for eight days in the emergency unit with several strong medications such as Hydroxychloroquine and Lopinavir (both drugs are still being tested for mass effectivity).  

When he eventually felt better, he was able to transfer to a regular hospital room and stayed there for four days. He said that he was deeply grateful to the medical staff who took care of him but that he’s also concerned for patients who are in public hospitals.


In the said meeting last Apr. 22, he puts forward that greater emphasis should be placed on public healthcare. The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Luzon would not be enough to test for new strains of coronavirus as he suggests more hubs to be established throughout the country. 

[READ: 43 RITM personnel, 71 cops now infected with COVID-19 ]

This is where the controversial resolution for DOH Secretary Duque’s resignation  comes in. As one of the 14 signatories, Angara said: “It wasn’t easy for Senate to call for resignation of DOH Sec. Duque, but complaints had mounted so much. The status quo was unacceptable.” Moreover, Angara, along with the other senators felt like there was “a lack of urgency, speed, foresight” in terms of mass testing, contract tracing and the alarming lack of PPEs for frontliners.

[READ: Should DOH’s Duque resign? 14 senators think so]

Thus, with regard to Duque he said, “I think we need a problem solver and a crisis manager at this point of the game […] It’s an unusual time and it called for special talents as well.”

He also brought up the inefficient implementation of policies like the Universal Public Healthcare Act passed in 2016 as well as having the budget transparency issues within the department given that he is the Senate’s current finance committee chair.

When asked about the implementation of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act he described it as a work in progress, and that every day there should be some improvement. He pointed out that the law allows for a stronger feedback mechanism from the different bodies of the government and that each one of the senators can comment on the president’s reports and decisions about the law. “We’re happy with oversight provision of Bayanihan Law. We noted low implementation level with respect to cash transfers.” 

Angara also stressed the media and LGUs’ role in delivering comments and feedback from the public. 

Regarding the much anticipated announcement and debate around the extension of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the senator had this to say: “My fearless forecast is President Duterte may extend ECQ til mid-May. He may relax it. If this will be the decision, I support it.”

For him, it’s too late to announce the lifting of ECQ at this point as there needs to be two weeks’ notice regarding any decision. He says that local governments should be given time to prepare before relaxing or lifting the lockdown. He also suggests adapting Singapore’s mass infographic campaign about specific directives, saying “we need to look at how to beef up these information mechanisms.” 



Header photo courtesy of

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Read more:

Beware of faulty PPEs: How to ensure quality of locally-produced protective suits

Want to know if you can go outside during the ECQ? Check out this guide

Taguig City just launched a “drive thru” testing booth for COVID-19. Here’s how they’re doing it


Writer: JOY THERESE GOMEZ © 2020. Hinge Inquirer Publications, Inc.


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