President Rodrigo Roa Duterte updates the nation on the government’s efforts in addressing the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang on April 3, 2020. TOTO LOZANO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

The country will have difficulty containing the spread of COVID-19 if the people keep on ignoring quarantine protocols, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte warned last Friday, April 3 as he encouraged the public to follow government’s stay-at-home orders.

“Kayong mga ayaw sumunod sa batas, you converge. Hindi natin matapos ito, itong problema natin kay sige kayo labas,” President Duterte said in his message to the nation aired last night.

“Tapos parang kadena de amor na ‘to ng kamatayan. ‘Pag sige kayo diyan sa mall, ang contamination, tapos uwi ka, ang anak mo, tapos maglabas ‘yung isa, sa jeep magbayad pera.”

The President said that it’s a good decision on the part of the government to immediately impose community quarantine to curb the spread of the disease ahead by a few weeks compared with other countries.

Wealthy countries in Europe as well as the US have also imposed similar restrictions. Both the US and Europe bear the brunt of massive infections with huge death toll.

The contagion is so serious that even adversaries like US and Russia are now cooperating to ensure the supply of medical equipment particularly ventilators, according to the President.

He suggested that the public must observe extreme caution to avoid contracting the deadly virus because there is still no available vaccine.

And to help unburden hospitals, the President said he ordered the Philippine Navy to convert its ships into medical facilities.

“Ang Philippine Navy in-alert ko, sabi ko ‘yung mga barko ninyo na magaganda… ‘Yung Ang Pangulo, ‘yung barko ng Presidente ng Pilipinas, maganda ‘yan. Ang loob niyan parang hotel,” he said. “Sabi ko sa Navy, gawaing ospital kaagad pati magtulong sila ng iba. At marami na.”

President Duterte assured the public that the government has the resources to aid vulnerable sectors affected by the current community quarantine, which will last until mid-April.

Congress has authorized President Duterte to realign certain state funds to deliver P200 billion in emergency subsidies to 18 million low-income households that have lost their sources of income amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The P200-billion program that will provide cash and basic needs over the next two months is the largest direct financial assistance program granted by the government to Filipino families in the country’s history.

Balikbayan Media Center
Balikbayan Media Center

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