President admits gov’t funds have dried up, can no longer bankroll subsidies to people

Government funds have begun to dry up and could no longer bankroll subsidies and food to the people during the coronavirus pandemic, President Duterte admitted on Sunday.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte talks to the people after holding a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang on August 2, 2020.

Addressing the nation Sunday night, the President admitted that government savings are "just good for a drizzle" and not a typhoon in terms of dealing with the public health emergency.

Duterte said while some groups preferred to place the entire country under the most stringent lockdown, he conceded that the pandemic has already put a heavy strain on limited government resources.

"What are we doing? What can we do? Magbigay ng pera? Wala na tayong pera (Give away money? We don't have money anymore)," he said in his taped remarks aired on government television.

"I’m sorry Manila. Ngayon magsabi kayo, “I-lockdown mo na ang Maynila, ang ibang lugar, entire Philippines para talagang wala nang mahawa. Wala ka nang mahawaan, wala ka nang mahawa.  Problem is wala na tayong pera. I cannot give food anymore and money to people (I'm sorry Manila. You said, 'Lock down Manila and other places, the entire Philippines to limit the infections. So you can't infect others. The problem is we don't have money anymore. I cannot give food anymore and money to people)," he said.

Unlike other nations, the President pointed out that the Philippines is "not rich" and has limited resources to deal with the pandemic. 

He said it was not the country's fault if it was lagging behind in the pandemic response because "we do not have the equipment, we do not have anything."

"Iilan lang ang tao talaga na may savings na good for a rainy --- ‘yan, savings for a rainy day? Well our savings is just good for a drizzle. Ambon lang. Iyong ibang preparation for a typhoon (Other people have savings for a rainy day. Well our savings is just good for drizzle. Others are prepared for a typhoon)," he said.

"Hindi tayo mayaman. Do not compare us because our money is equivalent to about P49. For today, it’s P49. Ang ating 49 pesos isang dolyar lang ‘yan (We are not rich. Do not compare us because our money is equivalent to about P49 pesos against a dollar)," he said.

The President, however, remained hopeful about the potential coronavirus vaccine to help address the pandemic. 

He cited that China was leading in the development of the medicines to help prevent coronavirus infection.

As soon as the supplies are available, the government plans a P20-billion acquisition program for the coronavirus vaccine.