By: Elena Grace Flores
YouTube video by Imee Marcos
Senator Imee Marcos talks about Covid-19, VFA and CITIRA
The Tripple Whammy
Senator Imee Marcos talks to Senate media on March 9, 2020 about a “Triple Whammy” that she says will affect the country’s economy this year — Covid-19, VFA and CITIRA.
No Supplemental Budget History
Senator Marcos, chair of the Senate economic affairs committee, is not optimistic about President Duterte’s approval on the DOH’s 2B supplemental budget. She discloses it after his non-approval of any supplemental budget since he took over Malacanang in 2016. Aside from the COVID-19 threat, other “whammies” are also at stake. The negative economic effect of the unilateral abrogation of the 21-year-old Philippines-United States Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA)is real. The African swine fever epidemic that might decimate the country’s pork production by half is another. Plus the impending blacklisting of the Philippines because of money laundering by “tourists” or “businessmen” of billions of pesos of undeclared foreign currency inflows through the airports is ongoing.
No Sense of Urgency in the DOH
A testimony before her committee that the DOH, despite its billions of pesos in its annual budget, only has 2,000 testing kits annoys her. Although the COVID crisis began late last year, no one from the DOH prepares for it. Marcos said they should now plan an epidemic situation as the Senate itself is on lockdown.