Duterte to Filipino people: Keep your faith in gov’t on COVID-19 response

Published February 1, 2021, 11:37 PM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

President Duterte asked the public to keep their faith in the government amid different reports about the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) situation in the Philippines, particularly the efforts to procure vaccines against the deadly disease.

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 Malacañang Golf (Malago) Clubhouse in Malacañang Park, Manila on  February 1, 2021. ALBERTO ALCAIN/ PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

In his weekly public address aired Monday evening, President Duterte reiterated that COVID-19 was not an easy obstacle to hurdle–especially for a country like the Philippines that is not rich.

“Ang greatest disadvantage natin is hindi tayo mayaman at ito labanan ito ngayon sa highest bidder nga (we are not rich. This is a battle of who will be the highest bidder),” he said.

“Yung makabayad ng una, mag-deposito na, tapos lalo na kung ‘yung bansa na ‘yon ang humihingi ng supply ng vaccine is the country where the factory is located — tawagin natin factory — nandiyan, nauuna talaga sa kanila (Whoever gets to pay or make the deposit first, especially if the country seeking for a supply of vaccines is where the company’s factory is located, then they will really get the vaccines first),” he added.

The government’s efforts to procure COVID-19 vaccines were once questioned due to the non-disclosure of actual prices of the vaccine.

In his public address, President Duterte asked not to be gullible and easily believe corruption claims.

“Ang hingiin ko lang sana, patapusin mo lang ninyo lang kami (All I ask of you is for you to let us do our jobs first). If there is a liability in one, there will be a liability in all,” he said.

“Do not be so gullible na basta maniwala kayo (that you’ll easily believe and), talk about corruption left and right. It starts with a big bang and ends with a whimper. Wala naman napakulong ‘yang mga ‘yan (They have not sent anybody to prison),” he added.

Despite doubts, Duterte assured the public that his government will get the job done.
“I said, you have a choice, maniwala kayo sa kanila o maniwala kayo sa amin. Kung maniwala kayo sa kanila, go ahead (You can believe us or not. If you believe them, go ahead),” he said.

“At the end of the day, you will see that everything has been done in accordance with rule of law,” he added.
President Duterte likewise asked the public to trust that Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez Jr., will get vaccines for the Philippines.

“Just stick with General Galvez. Huwag na kayong — huwag kayong lumipas sa kanya (Don’t overlook him) or ignore him and believe the others,” he said.

The President said that vaccine deals will not be final until it is reviewed by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez.

“Ang sinasabi nila na bilyon-bilyon-bilyon, ‘yang bilyon na ‘yan nandiyan sa World Bank pati sa Asian Development Bank (ADB). ‘Pag mayroon na tayo, dadaan na sa kay Dominguez (The billions that they are talking about us still with the World Bank and the ADB. Once we have them, it will go through Secretary Dominguez),” Duterte said.

“Ire-review nila ‘yan (They will first review it) before submitting it to the ADB and World Bank… He might opt to have it — have it passed in a full vote sa (in the) Cabinet meeting,” he added.

On Monday, Malacañang said that the Philippines is set to receive around 250,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines from the COVAX Facility and from China’s Sinovac.