President Rodrigo Roa Duterte talks to the people after holding a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members at the Malacañang Golf (Malago) Clubhouse in Malacañang Park, Manila on April 15, 2021. (MNS photo)

MANILA, Apr 16 (Mabuhay) — President Rodrigo Duterte once again slammed critics of his administration’s COVID-19 pandemic response, saying that the government is working and doing everything to fix the situation.

“Hindi tayo nagkulang [We did not fall short]. Right after the WHO advisory, the following day, basta within 48 hours, we already had the task force,” Duterte said in his second televised briefing this week.

He said he imposed lockdowns because that is what the medical people told him.

“Abogado naman ako, ‘di naman ako doktor. Eh kung anong sabihin ni Secretary Duque eh ‘yon ‘yong susundin ko eh kasi siya ‘yong Secretary of Health eh,” Duterte said.

He urged the public to not be afraid as the government is busy “doing everything.”

“Do not be afraid. Government is working. Government is busy doing everything, not nothing,” he said. “Government is trying to get the things to fix all of us.”

Further, Duterte said he can order authorities to take over hotels to ensure there are enough facilities for patients infected with COVID-19, “but that is not a remedy desired in a democratic state.”

“When we are pushed to the wall either by the microbe itself or by external, internal, I can always order the military and the police to go there and confiscate the operation of the hotels… and even the medicines, I can go wherever the warehouse,” he said.

“There is really no problem. ‘Wag na masyado ‘yang lack of material resources—for example, the beds, nandiyan ‘yan and you can make for as many as kailangan… Madali ‘yan, hindi talaga problema ‘yan,” he added.

The president called on the public to not be afraid as the Philippines is “not really at a total loss of what to do.”

“We know what to do. Ang marami lang dito is maraming maingay [What there is a lot of is a lot of noisy people]… Everybody wants to be heard but the problem is there is no time to hear everyone. We do not have that luxury of time,” he said.

Duterte also said the Philippines is not an exception with the rise in COVID-19 cases, saying other countries like Brazil are also afraid of a third wave.

On Wednesday, Malacañang again defended the national government’s efforts to address the health crisis amid criticisms as the country’s COVID-19 cases continue to spike.

Roque cited World Health Organization country representative Rabindra Abeyasinghe’s statement that resurgence in COVID-19 cases also happens in other countries.

Roque also cited government’s initiatives to address the dramatic increase of cases such as improvement of StaySafe.PH for digital contact tracing in the country, testing, setting up facilities, and the usage of the One Hospital Command for referral of patients to hospitals.

A group of health professionals flagged the government’s imposition of strict lockdown, saying it is wasted due to “unclear plans” to address the COVID-19 surge.

The Philippines has so far recorded a total of 904,285 cases of COVID-19 including 183,527 active cases, 705,164 recoveries and 15,594 deaths. (MNS)

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