By Genalyn Kabiling
The coronavirus lockdown is a “cruel” yet necessary burden that people must endure a little longer to contain the spread of the coronavirus, President Duterte declared Thursday.
In his latest public address, the President appealed to the public to follow the strict quarantine regulations for now, saying he himself has grown impatient and cannot fly back to Davao City due to travel restrictions.
“I have to admit it. This thing about sequestration or quarantine is a cruel, it’s a cruel action by the government. Hindi madali ito. Pati ako nasasaktan (This is not easy. Even I am hurt),” he said in his public address late Thursday night.
“Konting tiis nga. Ako mismo, sabi ko sa’yo…Ang masakit sa akin, ang nagbawal sa akin mag-land, ang anak ko.”
(Let’s endure it for a little longer. What hurts me is that it was my daughter who did not allow me to land.)
Duterte admitted that he missed some family occasions as he remained stuck in Manila during the quarantine period.
But the President said he has no choice but follow the travel restrictions as part of the quarantine measures imposed in his hometown. These protocols have been put in place are meant to protect the people of Davao City, he added.
“Ngayon alam ko na sabik na sabik na kayo. Para kayong taga-Bilibid lahat, tayo, pati ako. Hindi na nga ako makauwi sa Davao birthday ng apo ko, birthday ng — ‘yung partner ko, birthday ng anak ko, hindi ako makauwi. Bakit? Hindi ako pinapayagan ng mayor doon na makapunta. Walang eroplano na may pasahero maka-landing sa Davao City. Ipinagbabawal ng mayor doon,” he said.
(I know you’re all eager to go out. We’re like Bilibid inmates. I can’t even go home to Davao to attend the birthdays of my grandchild, my partner, and my daughter. I can’t go home. Why? The mayor has not allowed me to go there. No airplane can land in Davao City. The mayor has prohibited it.)
“It might may be a very noble gesture but it can sometimes be cruel, because people from the outside cannot enter Davao. Maybe you are allowed to leave, but to enter, wala na (nothing),” he added.
Duterte also likened the enhanced community quarantine, that includes a mandatory stay-at-home policy, suspension of public transport, and air, land, and sea travel restrictions, to “kalbaryo” or carrying a cross.
“Kalbaryo ito. Ang nakita ko lang na tapos ang paghihirap, si Hesukristo. Sunday, nabuhay na siya, pero tayo, parang patay ngayon,” he said.
(This is Calvary. The only one I’ve seen whose sufferings are over, is Jesus Christ. He rose last Easter Sunday, but us — we’re still dead.)
The President, however, assured the public that he would lift the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon if the country can get antibody treatment for the coronavirus. He noted that antibody treatments are expected to be made available soon while a vaccine for coronavirus might still take a year to develop.
“The experiments are getting into a high gear, baka makakita tayo ng lunas (we might see a treatment) in a few days. Once there is the — ‘yung ma-perfect nila (they perfect it) and they are ready to market the medicine, I will lift immediately — not a single — not even a single moment of delay. Tatanggalin ko ‘yan kasi kasing — inip na talaga rin ako (I will lift it because I’m also becoming impatient),” he said.
“Kaunting tiis na lang talaga (Just bear with it some more). In the fullness of God’s time. the antibodies and vaccines will come,” he said.
The President has placed Luzon under enhanced community quarantine since March 17 to stem the coronavirus outbreak. The lockdown has been extended until the end of the month to prevent a spike in the infections as well as further improve the country’s healthcare facilities and resources to combat the pandemic.