Actress Bela Padilla slammed Sunday, August 2, the call of Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. for the Department of Health and the Inter-Agency Task Force to distribute free face masks and face shields to the public as COVID-19 cases continue to spike in the country.
"124.5M can buy 1,245,000 face masks. #justsaying," the Kapamilya star wrote in response to Bong's suggestions on Twitter, referring to the lawmaker's plunder case in connection to the pork barrel scam involving convicted businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles.
Though acquitted by the Sandiganbayan First Division in 2018, government prosecutors insist that Bong should pay the amount to the government as a civil liability along with Napoles, as well as his former staff Richard Cambe, who were both found guilty of the charges.
In a statement, Bong said the free distribution of face masks and face shields would not only mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, but also complement the government's efforts against violators of quarantine protocols.
“Marami sa ating mga kababayan ang nanggigitata na ang face mask pero ginagamit pa rin dahil sa kawalan ng pambili, kaya para makasiguro tayo na hindi tayo magkahawa-hawa ay ang gobyerno na mismo ang mamahagi ng face mask at face shield,” he said.
"Wala na silang dahilan o katwiran na huwag magsuot,” the senator added, referring to the public.
The distribution, he suggested, should be cascaded by the national government down to the local government units (LGUs).
Bong's call comes a day after the local medical community appealed to the government to shift the National Capital Region back to stricter measures as health frontliners reported "waging a losing battle against COVID-19."
President Rodrigo Duterte over the weekend heeded their suggestion and announced that Metro Manila and neighboring provinces Cavite, Laguna, Rizal and Bulacan would return to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from Aug. 4 to 18.
As of Sunday, August 2, over 5,096 doctors, nurses and other health care workers have contracted COVID-19, amid the rising number of infections across the country.
The group accounts for 5 percent of the total confirmed cases in the country, which has reached the 106,330 mark as of Monday afternoon, August 3. The tally includes 2,104 deaths, 65,821 recoveries, and 36,405 active cases.