Duterte blew chance to unite Filipinos amid pandemic — bishop

Duterte blew chance to unite Filipinos amid pandemic — bishop

Jose Colin Bagaforo, National Director of Caritas Philippines. PHOTO FROM CARITAS

By CBCP News

July 28, 2020

Manila, Philippines

President Rodrigo Duterte had a massive chance to push for unity and solidarity amid the coronavirus health crisis and he blew it, a Catholic bishop said.

Reacting to Duterte’s fifth State of the Nation Address, Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo said the pandemic could have been the “silver lining” for the government to push for a whole-society response towards solidarity.

“But pride, prejudice and power prevailed over better judgment and people welfare,” said Bagaforo, the national director of Caritas Philippines.

“And so, the president has lost his chance to rally and unite the Filipino people when it is most needed,” he lamented.

The Kidapawan prelate said Duterte’s address that lasted 1 hour and 40 minutes was nothing but a “divisive” and “rhetoric” speech.

According to him, the SONA was just a reiteration of the same rhetoric on drugs, that “widely resulted in extrajudicial killings, and corruption which shielded his cronies”.

For an administration having “no clear roadmap” of governance, he said that Duterte’s SONA just exposed “how troubled the executive leadership is” in terms of managing state affairs.

“He was so enraged with past disappointments all he can think of is revenge, which at the end of his speech, just divided further an already broken nation,” Bagaforo said.

Despite repeated mentions about the government’s response to the pandemic, the bishop also said Duterte failed to mention the government’s roadmap to fight the virus as cases continue to rise.

“The president failed to concretely present his plans on how to improve the healthcare system in the country and the delivery of public service to the vulnerable sectors,” he said.