Women congressional candidates push for community approach to COVID

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / December 12) – Two candidates vying for a seat in Congress are pushing for a more community-based approach to the pandemic and the gradual decline of a militarized response to an epidemiological problem.

Peace and development worker Maria Victoria “Mags” Maglana and anesthesiologist Jean Lindo are vying for a seat in the House of Representatives, Maglana as independent candidate for the city’s first district, a post held by reelectionist Rep. Paolo Duterte, the eldest of President Rodrigo Duterte son, and Dr Lindo as the second candidate on the Gabriela party list.

The two shared their legislative agenda on COVID-19 during an online forum “Freedom from COVID-19: Looking back, moving forward” hosted and broadcast live by the Davao for Leni group on Saturday afternoon.

According to Maglana, during the first weeks of the pandemic, suggestions have already been made by academic institutes such as the Jesse Robredo Institute of Governance at Dela Salle University and the Joint Ateneo Institute for Mindanao Economics at Ateneo de Davao. University, on pandemic management.

Policies have pushed for COVID-19 strategies in local governments as well as vulnerability assessment in sectors in terms of cushioning effects in the community, among others.

“Paano kaya kung mag shift ang pamahalaan towards more civil responses (what if the government moves to a more civil response)? Maglana asked.

She said it was important to rethink the safety-centric approach early in the pandemic, as the problem is epidemiological in nature.

Police officers screen vehicle passengers at a checkpoint in Opol, Misamis Oriental, Wednesday, June 2, 2021, as the neighboring town of Cagayan de Oro was placed in modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) after a spike in cases of COVID-19 has threatened its hospital system. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

Maglana and Lindo were reacting to a presentation from Honolulu-based Dr Ava Patricia Avila, Deputy Project Director at SMS Research & Marketing Services, Inc., and a Dabawenya herself, on the challenges facing civil relations- military personnel in the Philippines in peacetime. public health emergency.

Avila noted that of the 25 members of the Interagency COVID-19 Task Force, nine are retired military officers while only two are doctors and 92% are men while only 8% are women.

When the pandemic struck, Avila said, President Rodrigo Duterte immediately mobilized the military to help implement lockdown measures.

“While the use of the military is almost certainly justified in the period of immediate emergency, the relevance of retired military personnel overseeing the public health response calls into question the overall civil-military balance,” a- she declared.

But even though the Philippines used a security-based approach, the number of COVID-19 cases remained high, she added. COVID-19 cases have declined in recent weeks as more people get vaccinated against the disease.

Lindo said they are pushing for a comprehensive political and scientific approach where the community is at the center of all decisions.

“There are no questions about the technology,” Lindo said of the government’s response on contact tracing, among others. However, she stressed, government policy should have been proactive rather than reactive from the start.

The next government is expected to institute a surveillance system through free mass testing, aggressive contact tracing, isolation, etc. using scientific, reliable and accountable health information systems, she said.

She explained that the government should ensure equity in vaccines and health instead of punitive discriminatory measures through transparent purchasing and advocating for the removal of barriers to intellectual property at the international level through waivers. trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights for better access to vaccines.

“We should increase our budget for health and the response to COVID,” she said, suggesting that the government allocates around 10% of the country’s gross domestic product to health.

Lindo also noted that a proactive response to the pandemic would have been to immediately tap the agricultural sector so that farmers would be the source of food for those who were quarantined early on.

She also said the government must push for a door-to-door education campaign so residents can be assured of the facts behind the dreaded virus.

Since March of last year, the Interagency Working Group on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has issued a series of quarantine guidelines until it settles on Streamlined Alert Level Systems current. (Yas D. Ocampo / MindaNews)

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