MANILA, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Tuesday distanced itself from the remarks of one of its officials who said that the government did not expect the unprecedented surge in COVID-19 cases and there were no direct solutions for it except vaccines.
“The Department wishes to clarify that the views expressed by Usec. Epimaco Densing III on ANC yesterday about the government’s response to the surge is his own personal opinion and does not reflect the position of the DILG,” Interior and Local Government Usec. Jonathan Malaya, DILG spokesperson, said in a statement.
The country has reported record-high cases in recent days since the pandemic started in 2020. Active cases are currently at 143,000.
Densing, in a televised interview, said the government did not foresee that the spike in COVID cases would be more than that of last year’s.
“This is a problem which we cannot anticipate. We do not know how the problem will move. We have no direct solutions right now except the vaccines,” Densing said.
“We expected a vacation or holiday surge, and even the Traslacion, but it did not happen. The system was strong until the second surge came in the first week of March but it was more than what was expected last year,” he added.
But Malaya said the DILG, as part of the National Task Force COVID-19 is devoting “all of its time, efforts, and resources together with other government agencies in containing the surge.”
With the help of the local government units, the agency scaled up its contact tracing program, put up more isolation facilities, increased COVID-19 beds, and established LGU-based triage centers.
“The plan is in place and we are currently focused on its implementation on the ground,” Malaya said.
The DILG official said it was also committed to the success of the national vaccination and deployment program, which he said was “the ultimate solution to the pandemic.”
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