President Duterte is not ready to ease the 14-day required quarantine period for returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and overseas Filipinos (OFs) even with the dwindling funds for their care.
Duterte made the statement after Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III consulted with medical experts about possibly cutting down the 14-day quarantine period for returning OFWs and OFs due to depleting funds for their isolation.
During the pre-recorded meeting aired Wednesday evening, medical experts agreed that the two-week quarantine period was still ideal to be more sure that no OFWs or OFs are positive of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) when they are allowed to go to their destination.
They, however, presented other options such as cutting it down to nine to ten days but will continue the rest of their quarantine at home or in a local government unit (LGU) facility.
Bello settled with cutting down the quarantine period to 10 days but Duterte sided with the medical experts.
“It is clear that the medical guys would really go for the strictest measure. From what I sense, they are not ready to move an inch backward,” the President said.
“Unless there is more than what I am hearing now, medyo ano ako (I’m on the edge). I’m not quite comfortable [with] the relaxation that’s being brought about now,” he added.
“I seem to side with the doctors because I am a frustrated doctor,” he continued.
According to President Duterte, he was not ready to compromise the health and safety of the public just because of Bello’s misgivings.
“There is no compromise here… I cannot… I am not ready for a compromise, lalo na ngayon (especially now),” he said.
“Yung ibang sakit siguro pwede pa yung mga rabies-rabies diyan. Pero ito, eh talagang, as we have said it’s talagang dapo dito dapo doon (If it’s any other sickness like rabies but this can go everywhere). And then we have the exponential problem now of how to take care of the Filipinos,” he added.
The Philippines logged 9,227 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, bringing the total number of infections to 962,307.