The government can spray the entire country with pesticide to kill the coronavirus if that is what Vice President Leni Robredo wants, according to President Duterte.
The President made the snide remark after calling out Robredo and “dilawan” critics for making “reckless statements” about the government’s supposed failure in addressing the coronavirus pandemic.
Duterte asked Robredo and other critics not to delude the people into believing the government is not doing enough. He insisted that the administration is actually exerting its “best” to fight the outbreak and that the country is “surviving” the pandemic while waiting for the vaccine.
“Huwag kayong maniwala diyan itong mga dilawan lalo na, I hate to mention her name but itong si Leni kung anu-anong pinagsasabi (Do not believe these yellow forces especially, I hate to mention her name, Leni who has been saying a lot of things),” he said during his televised public address Monday night.
“Alam mo Leni kung gusto mo, if you really want to do away with COVID, spray-an natin ang Pilipinas o Manila ng pesticide galing sa eroplano para patay lahat (You know Leni, if you want, if you really want to do away with COVID, let’s spray the entire Philippines or Manila with pesticide from the airplane to kill them all),” he added.
The President however maintained that the only way to beat the coronavirus is through the development of a vaccine. Until the vaccine is discovered and manufactured, he said the public must continue to follow health measures such as wearing of masks to avoid the risk of infection.
“The only thing we can do really is wear a face mask and wait for the vaccine. It’s COVID-19 equals vaccine. Huwag na ninyong palakihin ang problema (Don’t aggravate the problem). Do not add something to the pandemic by making such reckless statements that we are not doing enough,” he said.
“They are trying to delude people about, they are trying to picture that there is a failure of government. We have done our best. We have responded to the medical needs. Hirap na nga at the very cost of human effort kay (Health) Secretary (Francisco) Duque (III) with all the mga atake (We are having difficult at the very high cost of human effort, on the part of Secretary Duque with all the attacks). We are surviving and we’re only waiting for the vaccine,” he added.
Duterte asked what else did the critics wanted from the government, as he defended efforts to improve the country’s health care capacity.
“Ano bang enough na gusto ninyo? May ospital, may kama at may punerarya. Nandyan lahat. Ano pa gusto ninyo? (What else do you want? There are hospitals, beds and funeral parlors. It’s all there. What else do you want?) The microbes, the virus is flying around. That’s why you have to wear the masks,” he said.
Robredo earlier criticized the Duterte administration for its alleged weak pandemic response, citing the need to step up the efforts to address the health emergency. She also called for a period assessment of the country’s pandemic response instead of extending the declaration of state of calamity in the country.
The President however explained that he has extended the state of calamity throughout the country until September 2021 to address the pandemic, which has so far infected more than 290,000 people in the country.
He said the calamity declaration will give the government time to marshal resources to contain the spread of the disease. He said he has also requested the military and police to provide assistance.
The President recently issued Proclamation No. 1021 extending the calamity declaration for one year and enjoining government agencies and local government units to sustain measures to address the coronavirus threat. Under the proclamation, the state of calamity will take effect from September 13, 2020 to September 12, 2021 “unless earlier lifted or extended as circumstances may warrant.”
“This extension will, among others, effectively afford the National Government as well as local government units (LGUs), ample latitude to continue utilizing appropriate funds, including the Quick Response Fund, in their disaster preparedness and response efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19, monitor and control prices of basic necessities and prime commodities, and provide basic services to the affected populations,” the new proclamation read.
Duterte earlier placed the country under a six-month state of calamity back in March to mobilize government resources to protect public health from the pandemic. The declaration expired this month.