Duterte: ‘If I get COVID, then I get COVID’

Published March 6, 2021, 12:27 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

As the country continues to battle the pandemic, President Duterte remained unperturbed by the prospect of getting infected with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte shows a vial of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by British-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca following the ceremonial turnover of the first shipment of the vaccine from World Health Organization Representative in the Philippines Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe at the Bulwagang Kalayaan in Villamor Air Base, Pasay City on March 4, 2021. (ALFRED FRIAS/ PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

The President said he was prepared for any sickness, and even said he already had a burial place in mind in case of his demise. 

“If I get COVID, then I get COVID,” said the 75-year-old leader during his visit to Cagayan de Oro City Friday, March 5.

“Is your cemetery here beautiful? Because I’d like to be buried here. Someone I know will bury me here but we’re always fighting. I don’t think he’s here because I told him not to go,” he added.

Duterte was in Cagayan de Oro to attend an assembly on the government’s campaign to end the local communist conflict. He was accompanied by several Cabinet members during his latest provincial trip.

Despite the arrival of the country’s initial supply of Sinovac and AstraZeneca vaccines, the President has expressed preference for the Sinopharm vaccine to boost his protection against COVID-19. The Palace earlier said Duterte was simply waiting for the emergency use authorization to be issued for the Chinese-made vaccine before getting inoculated.

In his speech in Cagayan de Oro, the President discussed his plans for the remainder of his term, including fighting corruption, criminality, corruption, and armed communist insurgency. He said he was “not perfect” but remained committed to “work really hard” to improve the lives of Filipinos in his final months in office. 

“I worked really hard. I don’t have the energy for other things,” he said.

Duterte has renewed his threat to terminate corrupt officials as part of promoting good governance. He claimed he already fired many officials for their alleged involvement in irregularities.

The President also vowed to fight the armed communist rebels, who, he claimed, were plain bandits fighting a lost cause. He said the government has sufficient troops and tanks to defeat the rebels who destroy families and properties in the country. To those who refuse to engage the government in a war, Duterte asked these rebels to surrender, and promised them jobs and houses.

“I hope that I have made myself very clear. We love you. We are Filipinos. Nakita mo sa radyo sa kampanya ko (You heard on radio during my campaign): I am Rodrigo Duterte. I am a Filipino and I love the Filipino people,” he said.

“That’s my job. I’m getting older by the day. So what should I do then? Work. And what is my job? To implement the law,” he said.