By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Malacañang is hoping that there will not be an outbreak of dengue in the country in the near future as the government cannot afford to have more sick people while battling a worldwide health crisis.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after the Department of Health (DOH) warned the public about dengue after the weather state bureau PAGASA declared the start of the rainy season last week.
In an interview with state-run PTV-4, Roque hoped that there would be no dengue outbreak as it would mean more expenses for the government.
“Pero sana nga po huwag mangyari. Dahil ayaw nga natin na mas marami pa ang ating kababayan na magkasakit (We hope it won’t happen because we don’t want more Filipinos to get sick),” he said.
“Sabi ng Presidente, hindi na natin kaya, kaya nga nag-uutang na tayo. Pero sana, huwag nating magastos ‘yung ating inutang, para hindi na tayo kinakailangang magbayad ng interes (President Duterte said we cannot afford it anymore that’s why we’re borrowing money. We’re hoping we won’t get to spend that so we won’t have to pay the interest),” he added.
Data from the DOH’s epidemiology bureau showed that there were a total of 50,169 cases of dengue from January to May this year, a figure that is 46 percent lower than the 92,808 cases reported in the same period last year.
DOH spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire said on Monday that the decline can be attributed to the public’s increased awareness brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vergeire said it was important for the public to observe preventive measures to continuously lower the number of dengue cases.
The DOH has been advocating the ‘4S’ strategy to fight dengue: self-protection, search and destroy mosquito breeding places, seek early consultation, and support fogging when needed.
In August last year, the DOH declared a national dengue epidemic after the number of cases from January to July last year reached 146,062 with the death toll at 622. Western Visayas reported the most number of cases with at least 23,000, followed by CALABARZON with more than 16,000 cases.