Duterte says ‘gov’t busy doing everything’ in COVID-19 response

Published April 16, 2021, 2:03 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

The government has not been lacking in efforts to address the coronavirus pandemic, President Duterte asserted Thursday, April 15.

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 April 15, 2021.

Addressing the nation for the second time this week, the President said the government has actually been busy working to mitigate the impact of the pandemic, including efforts to secure vaccines for the country.

A national task force in charge of pandemic response is composed of the country’s “bright” people including health experts, according to the President.

“We were scrambling where to get the vaccine as early as ‘yong when we constituted the task force and we were not wanting,” he said in a televised address Thursday night.

“I’d like to just disabuse the mind of na nagkulang tayo. Wala na kayong tiningnan kung hindi ‘yong kag***han ninyo. Hindi tayo nagkulang (that we were wanting. You see nothing but your foolishness. We weren’t lacking).  Right after the WHO (World Health Organization) advisory, the following day I — day after basta within 48 hours, we already had the task force,” he added.

Duterte said he authorized the implementation of “lockdowns here and there” since it was recommended by the health experts to curb the coronavirus outbreak. 

“Abugado naman ako, hindi naman ako doktor. Eh kung anong sabihin ni (Health) Secretary (Francisco) Duque eh ‘yon ang susundin ko (I am a lawyer, not a doctor. Whatever Secretary Duque says, I will follow it),” he added.

But with no end of the pandemic in sight, Duterte admitted that the country will go through the “worst of times” before it gets better.

He told Filipinos not to worry or be scared, saying the government remained on top of the situation.

“Do not be afraid. Government is working. Government is busy doing everything, not nothing. Government is trying to get the things to fix all of us,” Duterte said.

“Huwag kayong mag-alala (Do not worry). We choose the right people to run this government. Huwag na ninyo akong isali (Don’t include me),” he added.

On coronavirus vaccine acquisition, Duterte admitted that the country was facing some supply issues given world’s limited stocks. But he assured that vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. was focused on securing more supplies for the country. He recognized that the vaccine remained the key to suppressing the coronavirus transmission.

“Hanggang ngayon the word ‘unavailable’ is nandiyan (The word ‘unavailable’ is there up to now). Unavailable because there are not — there’s no sufficient supply to inoculate the world,” he said.

The country has seen an alarming surge in coronavirus cases in recent weeks, that prompted authorities to implement movement curbs to slow down the transmission. The number of cases of infections has surpassed the 900,000 mark with more than 15,000 deaths.