Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo and Senate President Vicente Sotto III (File photo)

MANILA – The Duterte administration has already changed its strategies in addressing the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said on Thursday.

This, after Senate President Vicente Sotto III called on the government to look for other ways to fight Covid-19 other than relying on vaccines.

“Binago na nga ‘yung strategy. Mukhang nahuli yata yung mungkahi mo (The strategy has already been changed. I think you recommendation is too late),” Panelo told Sotto during his commentary show Counterpoint.

Sotto said the government should concentrate on treatment and prevention through medicines rather than focus more on vaccinating Filipinos against Covid-19.

Panelo, in response, said there is nothing wrong with the government’s goal to ramp up its vaccination efforts to protect Filipinos against the dreaded disease.

“‘Yung pagdating sa bakuna, hindi ho mababago ang strategy natin doon. The more bakuna, the better for us. Tama yung strategy na ‘yun — bakuna, bakuna, bakuna (When it comes to vaccines, our strategy will not change. The more vaccines we have, the better for us. The strategy to vaccinate the public is right),” he said.

As of Monday, a total of 36,190,983 Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered nationwide.

Around 15,283, 572 individuals have been fully vaccinated, while 20,907,411 have received the first dose of the vaccine.

National Task Force against Covid-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. earlier said the country is preparing to procure more vaccine doses as booster shots.

Panelo said the government is focused on updating its policy in terms of granular lockdowns instead of city-wide and province-wide community quarantine.

“Binago na ‘yung total lockdown. Granular lockdown na lang (It’s no longer a total lockdown. It will be granular lockdown),” he said. “Sa madaling sabi, ‘yung istratehiya, papalitan natin kaugnay sa pagbabalik sa normal ng ating ekonomiya (Meaning, we will change our strategy to bring our economy back to normal).”

Metro Manila was supposed to be under regular general community quarantine (GCQ) from Sept. 8 to 30 to pave the way for the pilot of granular or localized lockdowns.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, however, decided to defer the GCQ in Metro Manila, pending the release of final guidelines on granular lockdowns.

Metro Manila stays under the stricter modified enhanced community quarantine until Sept. 15. (PNA)