“Rubbish!” Ex-gov’t official on criticism amid late banning of all flights from China, says science led to President Duterte’s late decision

Former Malacanang Spokesman Atty. Harry Roque has run to the defense of President Duterte amid criticism surrounding the belated banning of all China flights to stop the entry of Chinese nationals into the country and the spread of nCOV.

Roque lamented “only in the Philippines when you see enemies of the administration politicizing even a public health crisis such as the novel coronavirus (nCoV).”

Roque described the criticism “rubbish.” The Yellows blamed the President’s belated banning for his subservience to China.

Roque defended President Duterte for waiting from the WHO to declare nCoV as an international public health emergency before issuing the order to ban flights from China. Otherwise, it would have caused hysteria or worse xenophobia.

“Without the WHO declaration, an earlier total ban on any contact with China would have been driven by hysteria or, worse, xenophobia,” Roque wrote.

Roque remarked that “by banning flights from China after the WHO declaration, we only responded in the same manner as almost all countries in the world did.”

Roque admitted that new-found PH-China friendship may have partly played the President’s decision but he saw nothing wrong with it.

Roque wrote by waiting for scientific basis before joining the bandwagon to isolate China, the Philippines demonstrated that only necessity will force us to isolate a friend.

Roque reminded the public that it was not just China that gave us an epidemic, such as the nCoV. He said the United States gave us far deadlier viruses, and we did not ban Americans from the country.

Roque stressed that the basis in any decision to seal borders with any foreign country must be based on science and not panic and hysteria.

Roque recalled that this is not the first time President Duterte relied rather listened to science. Remember the Dengvaxia scare? Well, did you recall when the President just ignored it even when many of the alarmists were his supporters?Because the fear mongering came from those without scientific qualifications. Instead, the President opted to appoint foreign disinterested experts and solicited their reasoned opinions.

Roque wrote that’s how it should be.

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Source: Harry Roque

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