Roque explains 'hammer and dance' strategy against COVID-19

Don't take it literally. Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque issued the message after he was bashed and ridiculed  online over his "sasayawan po natin" comment in confronting the coronavirus pandemic.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque

Roque tried to defend himself from the deluge of criticisms, saying he was actually referring to “hammer and dance theory” presented by Tomas Pueyo in dealing with the health emergency.

"Marami po ang nagtatanong na binanggit ko na sayawin ang COVID-19 – hindi po literal iyan, kayo naman. Marami pong hindi nakakuha ng sinabi ko at naging subject na naman ako ng memes at binuhay ang aking Tiktok video. Hindi po ito literal na sayaw (Many have asked about my comment about dancing to COVID-19, that is not literal. Many did not get what I said and I became a subject of memes and my TikTok videos were resurrected. It is not dancing  literally)," he said during a televised press briefing Thursday.

"Mayroon po tayong tinatawag na hammer-and-dance theory kung paano po natin nilalabanan ang COVID. (We have the hammer-and-dance theory on how we can fight COVID)," he said.

Under Pueyo's theory, Roque said the "hammer" refers to the implementation of lockdown to curb the outbreak  while "dance" pertains to the gradual reopening of the economy while health protocols are still observed.

"Ang ibig sabihin po noong hammer and dance theory, sa simula ginamit natin iyong hammer – lockdown; ngayon naman po mabubuhay tayo sa kabila po ng COVID-19. (The hammer and dance theory means that at risk we use the hammer or the lockdown, now we will live despite the COVID-19)," he said.

Roque said even as the government moves to further open up the economy, health measures must still be followed to contain the spread of the illness. 

He said local government units must implement localized lockdowns while government steps up testing, tracing and treatment programs.  The public must also cooperate by observing health measures such as wearing of masks, fret hand washing and safe distancing from others.

Pueyo is a French and Spanish author of viral articles "Coronavirus: Why You Must Act Now" and "Coronavirus: The Hammer and The Dance" that were posted last March.

The article calls for governments to adopt the "hammer" or stringent measures such as lockdown to contain the virus until there is a vaccine. Once the lockdown is lifted, countries may shift to "dance" period where people live with the virus but still follow protocols such as testing and quarantine. 

Last Tuesday, Roque said the nation must learn to "dance" or live with the COVID while the government shifts to further opening up the economy to bring livelihood.

"Sa Pilipino, when you have to live with something, sayawan mo na lang pero… iyan po ang gagawin natin. Sasayawan po natin, we have to deal with COVID-19 (In Filipino, when you have to live with something, you say just dance along. That's what we will do. We will dance to it, we have to deal with COVID-19)," Roque said.

"We have to resume with our economy and at the same time protect our people," he added.