News Release

Allaying public fears, President Duterte says gov’t can handle public health emergencies

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers a speech during a meeting with local chief executives at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City on February 10, 2020. ACE MORANDANTE/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte assured the public on Monday that the national government remains on top of the 2019 novel coronavirus (nCoV) threat, stressing the state has ability to handle all public health emergencies.

The President convened a meeting with local chief executives at the SMX Convention Center to strengthen government efforts against various challenges such as the 2019 nCoV, African Swine Fever (ASF) and the communist threat.

“I would like also to take this opportunity to assure all Filipino brothers and sisters that the national government remains to be on top of the threat of the coronavirus. We are prepared to handle all public emergency, in case the worst possible scenario happens,” President Duterte said in his speech during the meeting.

“Ang akin lang, sabihin ko sa iyo, maniwala lang kayo sa gobyerno. I mean — we mean, in a crisis of involving deaths and getting people sick, we will do our very best at maniwala lang kayo.”

The Chief Executive has called on local executive officials to take urgent steps in preventing the spread of the disease in their localities and in the immediate care of those who have been afflicted.

He wants all local government units (LGUs) to be more proactive in the management of cases, contract tracing, efficient prevention and control, and information dissemination regarding the coronavirus.

The protocol set out by the Department of Health (DOH) must be followed and the people must have access to equipment and services to help fight the spread of the virus, the President said.

“I trust that you will actively engage our schools, hospitals and barangay health workers for more efficient and effective community response to avert possible outbreak that could affect the day-to-day lives of our people,” he told the local executives.

He assured LGUs that the government has enough resources to respond to crisis.

The President also reported that the government has initiated the repatriation of 30 Filipinos from Wuhan City, China, who are now in 14-day quarantine period at the Athlete’s Village in the New Clark in Tarlac.

“We will continue to coordinate with the DOH and other concerned agencies so that we can meet the needs, not only of those who were affected by the virus, but also of the welfare of our frontline health workers,” he said.

At the same time, President Duterte has expressed optimism that the current situation will further strengthen the commitment of both the local and national government officials towards becoming responsive and conscientious servant leaders that the public can rely on.

“May you continue working with us so that we can secure a stronger and healthier future for our country,” he said.

DOH’s prompt response in allaying fears among the people with the onset of the 2019 nCoV is also commendable, the President said.

As of February 8, the country only has three confirmed cases of the coronavirus, resulting in one death and placing around 230 under investigation.

To date, there is neither a vaccine nor specific treatment for the 2019 nCoV. PND