President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Monday, March 8, has urged the public to vigilantly follow health protocols such as wearing face masks, frequent handwashing, and observing physical distancing to stem the rising coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the country.
“Iyan lang ang payo namin sa inyo. Maniwala kayo sa gobyerno, sumunod lang kayo,” President Duterte said in his weekly address to the nation.
“Sana, sana kung makatulong lang kayo sa bayan, sumunod lang kayo at medyo mapababa natin ang kaso ng COVID.”
Reducing the rate of infection will help the government “effectively combat” emerging COVID-19 variants, President Duterte said.
Enforcing the law, he said, is also crucial in managing the pandemic especially “for those who do not believe” as well as citizens “avoiding social distancing”.
The President also underscored the important role of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) in government’s pandemic response, noting it is crucial for the country’s welfare that the DILG “plays its role”.
In particular, President Duterte pointed out the participation of the barangays as the government unit that can best address coronavirus infections in the country through strict enforcement of health protocols in their respective localities.
The dedication of local chieftains in the government’s coronavirus fight is crucial in protecting public health, the chief executive said.
“Ang barangay ang pinakaimportante sa lahat and kung talagang ginusto ng lahat ng mga barangay captains na magtrabaho, really work at it, baka talagang ma — well, decrease the number of transition,” he said.
Barangay captains and other local leaders should also have the “political will” to see to it that their constituents get vaccinated against COVID-19, he noted.
The Department of Health (DOH) has recorded 3,356 new infections on March 8, bringing the total number of COVID-19 cases in the country to 597,763 with 545,912 recoveries and 12,521 deaths.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III has reported the spiking number of cases in Calabarzon, Central Luzon, Central Visayas, and National Capital Region (NCR).
The NCR recorded high two-week growth rate, Duque said, adding those in the critical risk are Pasay City and Malabon City while those in the high-risk level are the cities of Navotas, Makati and San Juan.
The health chief also assured that although there is a rising number of infections in those areas, the government is doing everything to ensure that hospitals have the capability to treat individuals infected by the virus. PND