Another of the President’s evening broadcasts to the nation occurred last night, Apr. 6 at around 10 p.m. During the broadcast, he announced that the P270 billion emergency fund is “not enough” and asked Finance Secretary Carlos “Sonny” Dominguez III to look for more sources to fund the government as it handles the COVID-19 pandemic.
The P270 billion fund is included in the recently mandated Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, which grants the president special powers to allocate the budget. The fund is set to be distributed to medical frontliners and low-income households with the beneficiaries receiving subsidies of P5,000 to P8,000 per month, according to the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
“I am calling on the Secretary of Finance to generate [more funds],” the president said. “Magnakaw ka, manghiram ka, mag-produce ka ng pera. Pag naubos na ito di ko malaman.”
Duterte also agreed with Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla’s claim that middle-income earners should also be given emergency aid.
He emphasized that the economy is not moving and therefore there are no more earnings. The government is finding ways on how to adjust their budget, with the president saying that food availability must be prioritized. He then called on for the public’s cooperation to help the vulnerable sectors that are most affected by the virus.
This is in contrast to the President’s televised address to the nation last Mar. 30, when he told people not to worry because the government can sustain the people during the pandemic.
“Huwag kayong matakot ngayon. Huwag na huwag kayo matakot kasi sabi ko may pera ako, at kung mayroong palpak-palpak diyan kaunti, ayusin namin ‘yan,” he said in his Mar. 30 speech.[READ: “Wag kayong matakot,” Duterte urges Filipinos vs. COVID-19 despite no concrete plans]
After addressing the issue of the lack of funds, the president then continued to express his anger towards the virus and towards drug addicts as well, and asked people not to compete with him in terms of understanding the law. “Do not compete with me because you are not a lawyer. And a lot of you do not know the law.”
In regards to the much anticipated question on whether or not the community quarantine will be extended, President Duterte said that the government is “inclined” to do so until the end of April.
Today, Apr. 7, Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) Spokesperson Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles has announced that President Duterte has approved the extension of Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine to 11:59p.m of Apr. 30. The quarantine was originally set to end in less than a week on Easter Sunday, Apr. 12
The positive cases of coronavirus in the Philippines has reached a total of 3,660 as of writing, with 414 new cases that were found over the past week. 163 deaths and 73 recoveries have also been recorded.
Header photo screengrabbed from President Duterte’s live broadcast
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Writer: THEA TORRES