“Wag kayong matakot,” Duterte urges Filipinos vs. COVID-19 despite no concrete plans
“Wag kayong matakot. Nandito yung gobyerno ninyo para kayo pagsilbihan at totoong pagsilbihan,” the President assured Filipinos amid COVID-19 crisis
Mar 24, 2020
President Duterte addressed the nation yet again on Tuesday night, Mar. 24 after the passing of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act in the Senate and Congress and a week after the declaration of enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila and throughout Luzon.
During the short speech, the President took his time to thank the politicians (284 House members and all 12 Senators) who backed up his proposal, which will effectively declare a national emergency and give him special powers to address the COVID-19 crisis.
“The Executive department can now move freely to help the Filipinos in this crisis,” he said after namedropping House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Senate President Vicente Sotto III.
Gratitude to frontliners
Duterte finally acknowledged the hard work of health workers braving the frontlines, even thanking them and those who have sacrificed their lives in the “war” against COVID-19.
“Maraming, maraming salamat. Asahan niyo ang suporta ng gobyerno.”
Senator Pia Cayetano, yesterday in the Senate session deliberating the Bayanihan Act of 2020, proposed a P100,000 compensation to public and private healthcare workers who will contract severe COVID-19 infection while in the line of duty.
National action plan—or the lack thereof
The President also briefly alluded to a national action plan in the works, with the Department of National Defense, Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police singled out to reinforce the Department of Health and the Department of Interior and Local Government.
Many of those who have tuned in to the President’s last-minute speech lamented the lack of concrete steps to be taken in the said action plan.
Activist leader Renato Reyes Jr. took to Twitter to express his dismay over Duterte’s brief address, comparing it to a losing team’s coach’s pep talk.
Kung gusto natin ng halftime pep talk, sana si Jawo na lang ang pinasok, naknangtokwa!
Pero ang talagang kailangan natin:
1. immediate economic relief for the poor and vulnerable
2. mass testing for those with symptoms
3. protection for frontline health workers#COVID19PH
— Renato Reyes, Jr. (@natoreyes) March 24, 2020
“Wag kayong matakot”
Unlike his previous COVID-19 speeches, this one took only ten minutes and Duterte seemingly stuck to the script, assuring Filipinos that the government is on top of the situation.
Perhaps the only specific albeit vague point he had was pointing out that that supplies of food and water and all essentials will be provided along with financial assistance to the vulnerable—at least most of them. “Halos lahat po makakatanggap.”
— Inquirer (@inquirerdotnet) March 24, 2020
The president also echoed his supporters’ rallying cry on social media pointing out that the least we can do is abide by the rules and stay indoors, never mind the lack of provisions to ensure we can live by what we have.
He also seems to have yielded his once critical view of LGUs who are going above and beyond national government directives saying, “To all my fellow public servants, let’s set aside our difference. We have only one common enemy and that is COVID-19.”
To end his speech, he relied on the time-tested phrase that has supposedly gotten us through natural calamities and many failed administrations: resilience.
“Nothing is more formidable and resilient than the Filipino spirit. Matindi ang kalaban pero we will not surrender. Hindi tayo susuko, tayo ay lalaban,” he said.
“Wag kayong matakot. Nandito yung gobyerno ninyo para kayo pagsilbihan at totoong pagsilbihan.”
Header photo courtesy of the Presidential Communications (Government of the Philippines) Facebook page
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