By Genalyn Kabiling
The Philippine government has thanked China for donating 200,000 face masks and offering medical information on the novel coronavirus amid appeals for unity instead of hate and stigma to address the latest health emergency.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said the Palace appreciated China’s help in the country’s efforts to combat the spread of the virus, recognizing nations must band together in these trying times.
“We wish to acknowledge with great appreciation the donation of the Chinese government of 200,000 surgical masks and its offer of sharing medical information and findings on the novel coronavirus. Such sharing will go a long way in better understanding and containing the spread of nCoV,” he said in a statement Sunday night.
“As members of the family of nations, we remain faithful in our commitment and resolve to help and support one another in these trying and quietus times even as we express our thanks to countries, including China, for helping us in our own fight against the spread of the virus in our territory,” he said.
Recognizing the “grave anxiety over the safety of the Chinese people, as well as the other nationals of the rest of the world,” Panelo warned against sowing fear and hate amid the coronavirus outbreak. He said the public must instead be united and vigilant with other nations in combating the health threat.
“We must caution those who sow hate, stigma and false narratives vis-à-vis the disease and its origin. They will only exacerbate the already heightened fear among the people by their negativism,” he said.
“Instead of dwelling on the negative, we all should join hands in allaying the apprehensions of the citizenry and contribute to the containment of the disease by observing and following the health protocols put up by the Department of Health and other agencies of the government. Let us all be united and vigilant with the rest of the countries and their citizens in combatting and surmounting this global health emergency,”: he said.
The country has recorded two confirmed cases of the 2019 novel coronavirus, including one death of a patient. The virus, which originated in Wuhan City, has infected thousands in China, spread to several countries, and reportedly fueled some anti-Chinese sentiment.
Recently, Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar appealed to Filipinos “not to engage in discriminatory behavior nor act with any bias towards our fellowmen.” He said the public must stay calm, level-headed and compassionate in dealing with the virus threat.
“We should not let fear turn us against one another, especially if these fears are unfounded. We must not stigmatize people, especially when they are at their most vulnerable, but empathize with them instead,” Andanar said.