Vice President Leni Robredo on Monday emphasized the need for the government to spend on open public spaces amid the government’s decision to allow children inside the malls.
At a media briefing, Robredo said her “Kalayaan sa COVID plan” gives emphasis on the types of infrastructures that the government should invest in, as part of the country’s adjustments to the threats of the pandemic.
“Kailangan taken into consideration ‘yung klase ng infrasructure or klase ng public spaces na pinagkagastusan ng pamahalaan natin. Ngayon, nakita natin na kailangan ng maraming open spaces kailangan natin ng mas maraming parks. In fact, very emphatic tayo na dapat pagkagastusan na natin ang mga bike lanes,” said Robredo, who is seeking the presidency in next year’s polls.
(The government should take into consideration the types of infrastructure or public spaces that we should spend on. Now, we see the need for more open spaces and parks. In fact, we are very emphatic on investing on bike lanes.)
These matters are part of the country’s “lessons” in the past one year and eight months into the COVID-19 pandemic, she added.
“Ngayon kasi ang karamihan ng pasyalan [ay] mall kasi kulang na kulang ang public open spaces. So dapat paghandaan natin iyon,” she said.
(Malls are the most considered leisure areas right now because we lack open public spaces. So we should also prepare for that.)
Two former Health secretaries, who serve as Robredo’s advisers and present at the briefing, also expressed agreement to government’s decision allowing kids outside their homes, but highlighted the parents’ role in making sure that the children won’t contract COVID-19.
“Sa akin puwede na lumabas ang mga bata pero kailangan lang mag-ingat,” former Department of Health Secretary Manuel Dayrit, who headed the agency during the SARS crisis in the early 2000’s, said.
(For me, we can allow the children to go out but we should still be very careful.)
He emphasized the need to consider the children’s mental health and social development amid the COVID-19 pandemic where lockdowns are being imposed.
“Kung nagma-mask sila, makakatulong ito sa pag iingat kasi kung iisipin natin halos dalawang taon silang naka-binbin e . Kailangan mo rin asikasuhin ‘yung kanilang emotional at tsaka social development e. E kung patatagalin pa ‘yan alam nating mapipinsala sila,” he added.
(If they are wearing masks, that would help in protecting the children. If we are going to think about it, they are locked up for almost two years. We also need to address their emotional and social development. If we will prolong the mobility restrictions on them, it would greatly affect their well-being.)
Meanwhile, former Health chief Esperanza Cabral said the parents’ responsibility should be in ensuring their child’s health is protected as the threat of COVID-19 still persists.
“Ngayon, makikita natin kung paano natin ipa-practice ‘yung ating responsibilidad para sa mga sarili natin at para sa mga minamahal nating mga anak kasi alam naman natin na hindi pa safe. Nand’yan pa rin ang COVID pero wala namang nakakapagsabi sa’yo na wag mo dalhin ang mga anak mo sa mga lugar na masyadong maraming tao kung hindi ikaw na lang,” she said.
(Now, we will see how we practice responsibility for ourselves and for our children because we know that it is still not safe. The threat of COVID is still around and no one can dictate them not to bring their children in places where there are lots of people.)
“Kaya ang aking appeal sa mga nanay at tatay na i-exercise nila ang kanlang responsibility at huwag nilang gawin ang palagay nila ay magiging mapanganib para sa kanila at sa mga anak nila,” she added.
(So my appeal to our parents is exercise their responsibility and think about their actions that might put their children at risk.)
Earlier, vice presidential aspirant Walden Bello denounced the government’s failure to regulate the people coming in at the Manila Baywalk dolomite beach amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Denouncing the project as a waste of public funds, Bello pointed out the need to create more public parks and green spaces.
“Kulang na kulang ang mga lugar kung saan maaaring mamasyal ang mga manggagawa at mga ordinaryong tao kasama ang kanilang mga kapamilya o kaibigan,” he said, adding that the public has no other choice but to go to malls for recreation but they can only do window shopping as they cannot afford to buy the items sold there.
Children below 18 year old were seen in parks, malls, and churches along with their guardians on the first Sunday since Metro Manila has shifted its alert status to Level 2 due to the downtrend in COVID-19 cases.
Malls and other indoor establishments have opened their doors to children given the protocols released by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases on November 4.
However, there are reported cases where health protocols were not observed. — RSJ, GMA News