Albay Representative Joey Salceda on Wednesday asked President Rodrigo Duterte to appoint Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez as overall COVID-19 crisis manager amid the continuing threat of the pandemic.
According to Salceda, Dominguez already has supervision in almost all aspects of the government's pandemic response, including testing, isolation and vaccine procurement.
“It will probably work better if testing, tracing, and treatment, as well as economic interventions and procurement were not siloed in different agencies or different persons-in-charge. At the same time, we need someone who can readily decide on matters of government guarantees, borrowing, and spending,” Salceda said in a statement.
GMA News Online has tried to reach out to Dominguez and presidential spokesperson Harry Roque for their comments but both have yet to respond as of posting time.
Surge in infections
At present, there has been a dramatic surge in COVID-19 infections, prompting the government to place Metro Manila and its nearby provinces of Bulacan, Laguna, Rizal and Cavite under enhanced community quarantine. This move forced establishments to suspend or limit their operations.
Salceda said Dominguez has experience in the private sector and network, which is necessary to mobilize the Philippine industry despite the health problem.
Salceda added that Dominguez even oversees the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Trade and Industry as cluster head.
“This is critical as we face a food price hike and supply chain issues,” Salceda said.
Further, Salceda said the country basically needs a “chief minister” who will manage the present health crisis that has claimed thousands of lives and severely affected the economy.
“It has been a standard for our presidents to heavily rely on Finance secretaries for that role,” he said.
“He (Dominguez) knows how to deal with a crisis of this magnitude. He has the experience needed to negotiate our vaccine procurement agreement. Most importantly, he has the respect of government leaders, including the President. So, he can candidly tell everyone what really needs to be done,” he added. — RSJ, GMA News