President Duterte vowed to take the country’s fight against COVID-19 to the next level as he promised that it will have the same fervor as his controversial drug war.
Duterte made the statement as he delivered his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, the same day the country hit 82,040 COVID-19 cases.
In his speech, President Duterte urged the public to do its best in helping the government fight the pandemic.
“Let us do the most that we can to ensure that the health, safety, well-being of every Filipino, especially those severely affected, are taken care of,” he said.
“Together, we shall fight this pandemic with the same fervor as our campaign against illegal drugs, criminality, insurgency, and corruption in high places,” he added.
In his speech, the President admitted that the Philippines was not prepared for COVID-19 and that the pandemic has hampered the country’s development.
He, however, assured that while the government’s response was far from perfect, it will not rest until the problem is addressed. He likewise reminded the people that their cooperation is badly needed.
“Everyone’s cooperation is needed. I know that you, the Filipino people, have sacrificed a lot but we have no other choice but to work together and to do even more,” he said.
“I must admit that our actions have been far from perfect, totoo ‘yan (That’s true). I admit it,” he added.
President Duterte claimed that his administration prioritized lives over other considerations.
“The intervention that the government had put in place had prevented as much as 1.5 million infections. Even if the numbers are much lower, it would have been worse if not for the sacrifices we made.,” he said.
Despite this, Duterte said he was not ready to follow the footsteps of other countries that have already lifted their lockdown.
“We are not ready and therefore will not gamble with the lives and health of the people. Certainly, no one would want to end up at the negative side of the equation. Not me, not us,” he said.
“All I ask is that you continue to put your faith in your government and work with us in achieving what is best for our country and our people,” he added.