News Release

President Duterte calls for bayanihan, ceasefire with NPA to effectively combat COVID-19

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte presides over a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases at the Malacañan Palace on March 16, 2020. KARL NORMAN ALONZO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte appealed for volunteerism on Monday inviting the country’s conglomerates to contribute as the country tries to stop a contagion that already affected many countries.

President Duterte placed the entire Luzon island under enhanced community quarantine to halt the spread of COVID-19, widening the scope of a counter-measure after putting Metro Manila under quarantine last week.

“Meron tayong undercurrent but that is not a personal one for you and for me, but it’s one for the people. It was an issue of people’s interest,” the President said in his message as he announced the stricter Luzon-wide quarantine.

“But I’d like to address ‘yung mga mayayaman like, for example, well, ikaw Pangilinan and the Ayalas and sila Coson sa itong mga big companies, Robinsons, you might be able really to alleviate the situation by just understanding also the plight of the workers who are not working now and lawfully are not really in a position to demand,” he said.

“But I said kayo na lang umiintindi, and if you try to help, kindly tumulong na lang kayo,” he added.

The President expressed his gratitude to Ramon Ang of San Miguel Corp. and other food companies for assuring him that there will be sufficient food for the people.

Ang, he said, had a good grasp of the problem, adding: “Nakuha niya. It’s not a matter of food, it’s not a matter of getting back your capital, it’s not a matter of business. But it’s a matter of helping one another.”

The assistance of big companies will be very important, according to the President, particularly in ensuring sufficient supply of basic items that will be available in sari-sari stores.

Under the enhanced community quarantine announced by the President, several measures will be implemented such as a moratorium on lease rentals, advancement of pro-rated 13th month pay, reprieve in utility bills, and assistance to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), in coordination with the Department of Finance (DOF) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), will formulate programs or measures for the amelioration of affected residents and workers.

The President also appealed to communist insurgents to let policemen and soldiers do their job of maintaining order and assisting the people in the midst of the present emergency.

“Kayo bang mga NPA nagmamahal kayo sa gobyerno? ‘Pag hindi, tumulong kayo. Distancing at huwag na ninyo muna galawin ang mga sundalo. Ano muna tayo, ‘yung ceasefire lang. Ceasefire muna tayo. Ako na ang naghihingi, ceasefire,” he told the members of the New People’s Army (NPA).

“If you really want that we will be at all times on talking terms, in this time of crisis, kindly cooperate and help. Mas mabuti pa tumulong muna kayo. I will repay you with a good heart in the coming days,” he added.

The enhanced community quarantine and stringent social distancing measures for Luzon will be implemented from March 17 to April 12. The measure calls for the suspension of classes and other school activities as well as mass public transportation.

Mass gatherings will be prohibited and there will be restrictions on land, air and sea travel. PND