Duterte wants no fiestas this May to curb COVID cases

Published May 14, 2021, 9:27 AM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

President Duterte has asked the public to forgo any fiestas this month as the country continued to grapple with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

President Duterte talks to the people after holding a meeting with core members of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases at the Malacañang Golf Clubhouse in Malacañang on May 13, 2021. ROBINSON NIÑAL/ PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

Duterte made the statement as he announced the new quarantine classifications for selected areas in the country this month, including the National Capital Region-plus (NCR-plus) bubble area going to a stricter general community quarantine (GCQ).

In his pre-recorded public address on Thursday, the President recognized that there are many festivals in the Philippines because it is a predominantly Catholic country.

“Sinasabi ko lang na Mayo, maraming fiesta (I’m telling you that in May there are many fiestas). But I think I’ll be more direct than what is written here,” he said.

“Ang hinihingi ko (What I’m asking) is that you only not tone down but forgo kasi may batas (because we have laws). Forgo to congregate, to crowd, and to hold,” he added.

Duterte said God would understand why there would be no fiestas because of the ongoing health crisis.

“Walang problema alam ng Diyos na love natin Siya pero ang problema (There would be no problem because God knows that we love Him but the problem is) — the necessary consequence of it all,” he said.

“So be mindful of that because we are still in the pandemic and there is no way of knowing how long this would last on this planet,” he added.

The President warned local government units (LGUs) that they will be held liable if they will not follow this order.

“I will not allow the violations of the guidelines given by the Task Force. And I will hold the local governments down to the last barangay level,” Duterte said.

“This is not just — it is really a law. So you have to enforce it because if you want this country to recover from the onslaught of COVID-19, you have to be mindful of what is going on and how to prevent it,” he added.

Based on the Tourism Promotions Board Philippines website, there are at least 10 festivals in the entire country for the month of May including:

  • Flores de Mayo
  • Pasalamat Festival in La Carlota, Negros Occidental
  • Magayon Festival in Albay Province
  • Pista y Dayat Festival in Pangasinan
  • Boa-Boahan in Nabua, Camarines Sur
  • Carabao-Carozza Race Festival in Pavia, Iloilo
  • Lanahan Ritual in Balabag, Digos, Davao del Sur
  • Balanghai Festival in Butuan
  • Tapusan Festival in Alitagtag, Batangas
  • Barangay Boat Festival in Aparri, Cagayan

Meanwhile, President Duterte reminded the public to always follow health protocols particularly the wearing of face masks and shields, proper handwashing, and physical distancing. He likewise advised them to stay at home if they have nothing important to do outside.

“You go out, you just go hunting for [the] virus to enter your body and pass it on, and that is a problem,” he said.

“So nakikiusap ako (I ask you) and I said there are a lot of fiestas, which you would like to hold. The problem is there is also the consequence, which you must be mindful of,” he added.