Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said that Filipinos are experiencing hunger and poverty because of the COVID-19 pandemic and not because of laziness.
Nograles made the statement after he was asked by one of the viewers of his Facebook Live video if laziness was one of the factors behind poverty and hunger in the Philippines.
In response, Nograles said he does not believe that Filipinos are lazy, saying they were not just given the right opportunity to improve their lives, especially during the pandemic.
“Masakit isipin at masakit sabihin na may mga Pilipinong tamad. Hindi ako naniniwala diyan. Siguro, kailangan lang, kulang lang sa opportunities (It pains to hear and think that Filipinos are lazy. I don’t believe that. I think we just lack opportunities),” he said.
“‘Pag ang Pinoy pag bibigyan mo ng pagkakataon ‘yan – masipag ang Pinoy. Madiskarte ang Pinoy (Just wait until you give Filipinos the right opportunity. Filipinos are hardworking and resourceful),” he added.
According to Nograles, the COVID-19 pandemic really took its toll on Filipinos after it forced many businesses to close down.
“Marami sa mga negosyo rin ang nagsara at nagsuspend dahil sa COVID, maraming nawalan ng trabaho (A lot of businesses closed down and suspended operations because of the pandemic and in effect, many people lost their jobs),” he said.
“’Yun talaga yung naging epekto ng kawalan ng trabaho, ‘yung problema ng kagutuman (It’s joblessness that really caused hunger),” he added.
The Palace official said that the government, with the third phase of the National Action Plan (NAP) on COVID-19, is allowing more Filipinos to get back to work as the country reopens the economy.
“Buksan natin ang ekonomiya para mas marami sa kababayan natin ang makapagtrabaho (Let’s open the economy so that many people can work),” Nograles said.
“Ang transportation binubuksan na rin natin para ‘yung mga gustong magtrabaho ay makakapunta sa kanilang pinagtatrabahuhan (We are also allowing more modes of public transportation to resume operations so those who want to work can get to their workplaces),” he added.
However, Nograles said that reviving the economy cannot be done by the government alone.
“Kailangan din ng people participation. Itong ginagawa natin hindi talaga kaya ng gobyerno mag-isa ito (We need people participation. The government cannot do this by itself),” he said.
“Kinakailangan talaga ng tulong ang bawat Pilipino (We need the help of every Filipino). We need all the help we can get,” he added.