On Holy Wednesday, the Palace relayed President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s hope for everybody to unite in praying for the nation’s recovery and for guidance on how to defeat the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) that has put many of the citizens’ lives in danger.
In his second virtual press conference on April 8, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel and Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Salvador S. Panelo said that the President, who just finished his 14-day quarantine, will remain in his official residence in Malacañang for the duration of the Holy Week and will continue to be on top of the nation’s problems arising from the COVID-19 situation.
“Ang mensahe po ni Presidente ay kahalintulad pa rin ng mga dati nyang mensahe, kung maaari po tayo ay manatili sa bahay, stay at home upang tayo po ay hindi magkahawaan, at kung maaari po ay magtulungan po tayo sa isa’t isa,” Secretary Panelo said.
The Palace official also thanked and acknowledged some groups, companies, and individuals for their initiatives and generous donations to aid the government in addressing the COVID-19 situation.
“Gaya nga po ng sinasabi ni Presidente, hindi kaya ng pamahalaan natin na sagutin lahat ng pangangailangan ng ating bayan. Sa panahon ngayon ay kailangan po talaga tayong bawa’t isa ay magbigay ng kanilang tulong,” Panelo emphasized.
When asked about the criticism that the President downplayed the problems brought about by COVID-19 in the past, Secretary Panelo stressed that the measures adopted by the Chief Executive and undertaken by the national government are based on — and are pursuant to — the advisories of the World Health Organization (WHO) on the pandemic.
The Presidential Spokesperson cited that as soon as President Duterte saw the gravity of the situation, he immediately prescribed protocols on stringent social distancing measures in the National Capital Region, and soon followed by imposing an enhanced community quarantine over the whole of Luzon. This, aside from the travel restrictions on countries with COVID-19 local transmissions, as earlier announced by the Office of the President.
Secretary Panelo, in the same virtual presser, called for the government’s detractors to refrain from airing unnecessary criticisms, especially when they are only meant to advance political propaganda, adding that the same are counterproductive during this time of crisis when not accompanied by suggestions.
“Yun pong mga kritisismo, kung ano man ang iki-criticize natin ay gawin na po nating mungkahi… para lahat po tayo ay makatutulong sa isa’t isa,” Panelo stressed. ### OPS-PCOO