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Duterte slams Robredo, critics of pandemic response

Christina Mendez - The Philippine Star
Duterte slams Robredo, critics of pandemic response
President Duterte bared his disappointment on Monday night with Vice President Leni Robredo for saying that the administration is not doing enough in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The STAR / Krizjohn Rosales, file

MANILA, Philippines — Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

President Duterte bared his disappointment on Monday night with Vice President Leni Robredo for saying that the administration is not doing enough in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a late night address, the Chief Executive lashed out at critics from the political opposition, particularly Robredo, for downplaying government efforts against the coronavirus disease.

“Huwag kayong maniwala diyan… sus mga itong dilawan lalo na… I hate to mention her name, but ito si (Vice President) Leni (Robredo), kung ano-anong pinagsasabi (Don’t believe them… particularly the yellows… I hate to mention her name but this is Leni, she has been talking nonsense),” he said.

Addressing Robredo, Duterte said: “You know, Leni, if you wish… if you really want to do away with the COVID, let us just spray the Philippines or Manila with pesticide from a plane so that all would just die.”

He pointed out that the disease is new, which is why there is no easy cure.

“You cannot exterminate the COVID… The only thing that we can do really is to wear a mask, wear a face mask and that’s it – and wait for the vaccine. It’s COVID-19 equals vaccine,” Duterte said.

He urged his critics not to add to the problem by issuing “reckless statements.”

“Huwag na ninyong palakihin ang problema (Do not exacerbate the problem). Do not add something to the pandemic by making such reckless statements that we are not doing enough,” Duterte added.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III is doing the best he can to address the pandemic, the President said, siding with Duque, who has been facing calls for his resignation.

“Ginagawa na ni Secretary Duque ‘yung… Halos na nga hindi na kumakain, hindi na – hindi na natutulog sa trabaho. So, huwag ninyo masyadong pasobrahan (Secretary Duque is doing… He’s almost not eating… he’s not sleeping [because of] work. So, don’t stress him out too much). And do not, I said, delude the people, na bobolahin ninyo (that you will trick them), about not doing enough,” Duterte said.

He thumbed down Robredo’s recommendations, noting that Philippine authorities have been working hard to address the problem.

Duterte slammed his critics’ penchant to talk and make it appear that the problem was a failure of his administration. He said their mouths have done nothing but criticize and pressure this administration, “so you’re also doing nothing.”

Noting how bad karma befell a critic, Duterte also talked about a priest who spoke ill of him but eventually died of the disease.

Duterte assured the public that the government is doing its best to address the problem, calling on the people to continuously observe minimum health standards and adjust to the situation, at least until a vaccine is available.

Roque challenges VP

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr. challenged Robredo yesterday to provide a solution that would end the COVID-19 crisis in the country, so she can also be installed as president at once.

“I challenge VP Leni to tell us if she has a solution for COVID-19 even if there is no vaccine yet… outright she might become the president if she finds a solution while there is no vaccine and cure yet,” Roque said in Filipino yesterday.

Roque issued the statement after Robredo criticized Duterte and his administration over its response to the COVID-19 crisis that has left over 290,000 afflicted with the disease, with 230,000 recoveries and almost 5,000 deaths.

Rather than attacking the administration, Roque said Robredo should start looking for solutions and not merely criticizing the government. He added that the government is guided by the National Action Plans 1 and 2 in dealing with the disease.

Roque also slammed the Vice President who responded to Duterte’s statement Monday that “there is more to fighting the COVID-19 crisis than just wearing face masks, waiting for vaccines and spraying pesticides throughout the country.”

“What she said was correct. Other than what the President said that we have the highest testing rate… The Vice President keeps on ignoring this. We are enforcing the contact tracing using the Magalong formula but the Vice President won’t even acknowledge that,” he said.

“We have inaugurated many isolation centers, even public schools are being used as isolation centers, the hotels, but these are disregarded by the Vice President. We have One Hospital Command Center that provides referral service for persons who need medical attention, these are disregarded by the Vice President and by the opposition,” he said.

“They are the ones who have not done anything. Well, I guess they are the only ones who do not know what the government is doing. Open your eyes,” Roque said.

LENI ROBREDO

PRESIDENT DUTERTE

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