President Rodrigo Duterte addressed the nation tonight Apr. 16 and went on to say that if things begin to go out of hand, the military is ready to take over. He also emphasizes the need for hospitals to accommodate patients.
The president started off by saying that it was his turn to make criticisms about what’s happening. He then reminded people of the importance of social distancing and that LGUs should just follow the directions or guidelines lamenting that the government is having a difficult time providing for poor and disenfranchised Filipinos.
Although he claims that he is not condoning the majority but only 20 percent of them, he expressed his frustrations over citizens who have been given financial assistance but have spent it on inessential things like gambling, saying “Ang tulong ng gobyerno, dapat gamitin niyo sa wastong paraan.”
After a few more comments on the declining state of our country due to violators of social distancing measures, Duterte went on to say probably the most controversial statement throughout his speech: “I’m just asking for your disiplina. Kasi pag ayaw ninyo, ayaw ninyong maniwala, magtake-over ang military pati ang pulis. I’m ordering them now to be ready. Sila na. Parang martial law na rin. Mamili kayo.
“Di tayo kaibigan, di tayo kapartido, ayaw niyo sa akin edi okay lang. Pero ngayon, ano mang partido mo, o ano mang kulay mo, sumunod ka kasi pag hindi ang kaharap mo sunod ang militar pati ang pulis.”
Moreover, he asks crematorium owners not to increase fees, almost threatening to order these crematoriums to retain dead bodies should they decide for a price hike.
The president then touched upon the current dilemmas of hospitals dealing with COVID-19 patients and asked them to improvise on different ways like closing certain wards or providing areas outside the hospital. He, however, denounces the rejection of patients. “Ospital kayo, you are the sanctuary of the sick. You do not choose the ailment of the patient you are accepting. Kung hindi mo kaya maging ospital, isasara nalang kita. Why pretend to be a hospital when you are not a hospital? Because you cannot choose the patients that you have to attend to medically. I hope I have made myself very clear on this.”
He ended his address by reiterating that a cure in the form of “killer antibodies” are well on the way and that he is placing his bet on this instead of a vaccine which is predicted to be finalized in 2021.
As of writing, the Philippines has recorded 5,660 cases of COVID-19, with 362 deaths and 435 recoveries. Earlier, Malacanang said the government is considering a “total lockdown” should violators of the enhanced community quarantine persist.
Header photo from the Presidential Communications Operations office
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Writer: JOY THERESE GOMEZ