By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte has committed to give regular public address on the government’s efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic “until this crisis is over.”
The President admitted that he could not go out for the past few days but promised to update the nation as the government implements various measures to address the public health emergency.
“Gawain ko ang buong kaya kong gawin para ho sa inyo kaya nga hindi ako nakalabas eh ilang araw, dalawang araw. Pero usually in times of crisis ho kailangan ang isang trabahante ng gobyerno na binigyan ho ng trabaho para humarap sa inyo, makipag-usap sa inyo. Ito ho ang garantiya ko: Ginagawa namin ang lahat ng makakaya namin (We are doing everything we can for you. I was not able to go out in the past few days, but usually, in times of crisis, a government worker given the mandate must face you, must talk to you. This is my guarantee: We will do everything we can),” Duterte said in his public message from the Malago Clubhouse inside Malacañang Park late Monday night.
“Ako’y regularly mag — makipag-usap sa inyo until this crisis is over (I will regularly talk to you until this crisis is over),” he said.
The President has recently been advised by his doctors and the Presidential Security Group to go on self-quarantine as a precaution against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Duterte’s self-quarantine will last until April 7, according to Senator Christopher Go.
Duterte’s recent meetings have been limited to a small number of Cabinet members as well as video conferencing as the Presidential Security Group imposed stringent security measures, including a “no touch policy” on the President to ensure his safety and health.
In his remarks Monday, the President said he is prepared to accept his fate. He mentioned that he previously went to places where there were ongoing battles just to rally behind the government troops.
“Ang doktrina ko sa buhay is ako, si Rodrigo Duterte, kung panahon ko na, panahon ko na (My doctrine in life is I, Rodrigo Duterte, if my time is up, so be it),” he said.
Duterte said he has left to the Lord to decide when his time will come.
“Sabi ko na lang, ‘Diyos ko, ‘pag panahon ko na, kunin mo na ako. Huwag kang mag-atubili. Bahala ka na’ (I said, Lord, if it’s my time, then take me. Don’t hesitate. It is up to you),” he said.
In his latest public address, the President announced the government’s P200-billion social protection program for low-income families severely affected by the public health crisis. A “recovery package” for small businessmen is also being readied by the President’s economic team.
He said the government has also started to procure medical supplies, devices, and personal protective equipment for health workers “so they can save as many lives as possible.”
More medical facilities and laboratories will be accredited to conduct coronavirus tests in the coming weeks, he added.
The President also thanked the country’s front liners in the battle against the coronavirus, including health workers, uniformed forces, public servant, and those performing essential services, promising that their efforts will be rewarded. He also commended the fallen doctors who died in the service of the nation.
“Napakaswerte nila. Namatay sila para sa bayan. Iyon ang dapat ang rason na bakit tayo mamatay. Huwag tayong mamatay sa ibang rason, nasagasaan ka lang at wala ka namang ginawa. It would be an honor to die for your country, I assure you,” he said.