‘No magic wand or silver bullet for COVID-19 problems,’ says Duterte

Published August 25, 2020, 2:22 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

There is neither “a magic wand nor a silver bullet”  that will solve the country’s problems related to the coronavirus pandemic, President Duterte said Tuesday.

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 Matina Enclaves in Davao City on August 24, 2020.

As the country’s cases of infections continued to soar, the President said the government continues to implement “recalibrated” efforts to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.  

“This is an update again, a weekly (report on) what we are trying to do. We will also continue to respond to the rising challenges in our pandemic, recalibrating our strategies if we must based on science and data,” Duterte said at the start of his televised address.

“Ganito ‘yan mga kababayan ko (To my countrymen) there is no magic wand or if you want a stronger statement a — the magic bullet, a silver bullet, that will solve our problems,” he said.

Duterte, who has been supervising government’s pandemic response from his home city of Davao, is quick to admit the government is “not perfect” and will fine-tune its strategy if needed.

“May sinubukan tayo (We tried something) since we are not perfect,” Duterte said during a meeting in Davao City with several Cabinet members, who also serve as members of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of the Infectious Diseases.

“So nandito kami ngayon para mag-usap uli kung ano ang hindi maganda, ones that — the ones that we see fit to change and unahin kung sinong dapat iwan (We are here today to discuss what are not good, the ones that we see fit changing and prioritize whoever is left behind),” he said.

The government has gradually relaxed the lockdown measures across the country in an effort to jumpstart an economy that has been weakened by the pandemic by allowing people to return to work. Testing, tracing and treatment efforts have also been ramped up to contain the spread of the illness as part of the government’s “refreshed” COVID-19 response strategy while waiting for a vaccine that could stem the coronavirus outbreak.

As of August 24, the country has recorded 194,252 cases of coronavirus with 3,010 deaths.

The government has drawn criticism from Vice President Leni Robredo and other groups for its alleged “weak response” to the pandemic.  Robredo has called for a comprehensive and clear plan to address the health emergency, citing the need to address the lack of public confidence.