Duterte urges fellow seniors: Be careful vs COVID-19

Keep your guard up.

With the threat posed by the new coronavirus variants, President Duterte is urging the public, especially fellow senior citizens, not to drop their guard against the pandemic.

Residents wear masks in Downtown Cebu City as they walk to their daily routines (Juan Carlo de Vela / MANILA BULLETIN)

In a televised address Monday, March 8, the President reminded people about strictly observing health precautions since they have "only one life to live" after authorities reported a surge in cases of infections and deaths related to the coronavirus in the country. The country's cases have increased to 597, 763 with 12,521 deaths as of March 7.

"Ang mga bata hindi masyado ano lumalaban ang ano eh, katawan nila. Pero tayong matatanda be careful because we might not be able to make it (The young people are not really, their bodies can fight the virus. But we old people must be careful because we might not be able to make it)," the President said during a televised address Monday, March 8.

"Ang sabi ko itong washing of the hands, social distancing and mask. It’s your life. You only live once," he added According to the President, people should take care of their health by following the government's advice on mask-wearing, hand hygiene, and physical distancing to curb the spread of the illness.

"Kung ready ka na kung saan pumunta, kung totoo man ‘yong impiyerno pati langit, eh ‘di mamili ka na doon. Kung anong nasa pinaglakihan mo na relihiyon at may ganoon, eh ‘di ready ka (If you're ready to go, if there is really heaven and hell, you may choose which one depending on your religious belief) because, I said, you have only one life to live so please guard yourself," he said.

The President has expressed concern that many people have become infected while others have died due to the coronavirus illness. He said he knew many people have passed away from the disease.

"At no other time na marami akong kilalang mga tao na namatay. Noon, once every two years lang, “Oh namatay na ‘yong ano mo kaibigan mo.” Ngayon, tsk, weekly. Pati ‘yong --- ang masakit pa sa akin ‘yong mga mag-asawa kasi magkatabi palagi eh. Pagtulog, pagkain, lahat. Ngayon kung matamaan ‘yong isa, eh ‘di madali na rin ‘yon magkasakit iyong partner (At no other time, I've known many people who died. Before, once every two years, 'Oh your friend died.' Now, it's weekly. Some married couples also get sick because they're always together, they sleep and eat together. Now if one gets sick, the partner can easily become infected)," he said.

Before concluding his remarks Monday, Duterte urged the public to follow the government's health precautions, saying they were not making a mistake on the matter.

"We're trying to find out a way of effectively combating this new development sa mga variants sa COVID-19. Sana kung makatulong lang kayo sa bayan, sumunod lang kayo at medyo mapababa natin ang kaso ng COVID (We hope you can help the nation, just follow the precautions so we can lower the COVID cases)," he said.

Following the arrival of the initial vaccine supply in the country, the government has launched its vaccination drive, giving priority to health frontliners in the immunization. The government aims to vaccinate up to 70 million Filipinos this year in a bid to herd immunity.