COVID-19 impact ‘tough but worst is over,’ Roque assures public amid pessimism

Published September 16, 2020, 3:57 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic has been tough for the nation but the “worst is over,” Malacañang assured the public Wednesday.


Presidential spokesman Harry Roque tried to lift the spirits of the public especially after the latest survey showed that majority of Filipinos believe the coronavirus crisis will get worse.

“Naintindihan po natin yung pessimism ng ating kababayan dahil napakahirap talaga nitong pandemiya na dinulot nito. Pero ang masasabi ko lang po the worst is over (We understand the pessimism of our countrymen because the pandemic has been really very difficult),” he said over state television Thursday.

“Kaya lang naman po we hit rock bottom dahil sinara natin ang ekonomiya (We hit rock bottom because we closed the economy),” he added.

The country has plunged into recession after the local economy shrank a record 16.5 percent in the second quarter of the year. The worse than expected economic downturn was recorded following the strict coronavirus lockdown the affected businesses and left millions jobless.

Roque however said the government has gradually reopened the economy to allow business activity and generate livelihood of the people. While the economy is slowly reopening, the Palace official stressed the importance of following health measures such as wearing masks and face shields, and observing safe distancing from others

“Ang ating panawagan sa lahat, pwede po tayong mabuhay na nandyan pa ang COVID dahil hanggang wala naman bakuna, walang gamot talagang matatagalan ang ating pandemiya (We appeal to everyone that we can live even with COVID because until there is no vaccine, there is no cure, the pandemic will stay for a long time),” he said.

He noted that the festering pandemic does not mean that life has to stop.

“Pero ang sinasabi lang po ng ating pangulo puwede naman pong mabuhay basta pagingatan po ang ating mga kalusugan para tayo ay makapaghanapbuhay at makakamit natin ito sa pamamagitan ng hugas, mask, at iwas (The President has said we can live as long as we can take care of our health so we can go work and we can do this through washing hands, wearing masks and distancing),” he said.

A Social Weather Stations survey conducted last July showed that 57 of Filipinos believe the coronavirus crisis will get worse, up from 47 percent last May. Those who believe the worst of COVID-19 is over dropped to 35 percent from 44 percent in the same period.

The pollster said the number of people believing the “worst is yet to come” was recorded highest in Metro Manila at 70 percent, followed by those from the Visayas with 61 percent, balance Luzon with 56 percent, and Mindanao with 49 percent.