Roque invites critics from UP to join IATF

Presidential spokesperson invited Thursday, the professors from the University of the Philippines (). They marked the government’s COVID-19 response as “fail” to join the national task force against the pandemic.

Roque, who taught at UP law for 15 years, invited former UP Diliman chancellor Michael Tan, Joshua San Pedro of the Coalition for People’s Right to Health, and Edelina Dela Paz of the Health Alliance for Democracy.

“Iimbitahan ko na lang itong tatlong nagsalita para tumulong po sa IATF nang sa ganoon, hindi na nila masabi na failure tayo,” Roque said in a televised briefing.

(I will just invite these three who speak out to help the IATF so that they can no longer say that we are a failure.)

“You are all welcome to join po the pool of experts ng IATF, and I will personally make sure that  letters of invitation  are sent to the three colleagues of mine from UP,” he added.

Roque added that the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) credits the inputs from UP experts, especially when it comes to COVID-19 cases projection.

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Tan said yesterday that the COVID-19 community quarantine is a “war on the poor.” “To be poor is itself to be a group at risk,” he said.

Dela Paz, meanwhile, cited the health workers’ problems such as , low salary, heavy workloads, stigma, and inadequate protection.

San Pedro said Filipinos raised the issues on the government’s testing capacity and free mass testing for COVID-19.

As of July 22, the Philippines has recorded 70,764 COVID-19 cases, with 23,281 recoveries and 1,837 fatalities.

According to the , the number of infections could reach up to 85,000 and includes projected 2,200 deaths by end-July. The figures were based on the assumption that the virus’s current reproduction rate and government interventions would not change.

The UP professors and researchers presented President Rodrigo Duterte, a report showing COVID-19’s reproduction rate of 1.75 from 1.28 in June’s projection.

The report added that the reproduction rate should be less than one. Meanwhile, a value higher than one indicates the virus is spreading.