Duterte apologizes over restrictions on Christmas celebrations

President Rodrigo Duterte apologized Monday night over the government’s restrictions on family gatherings and other parties during the celebration due to the COVID-19 crisis.

In his televised address, Duterte asked the public for understanding because of the adjustments they needed to do to prevent COVID-19 transmissions.

“Ngayon pa lang, we are saying sorry that there will be a curtailment of so many things that you have been used to this time,” the president said.

“Look at it this way. Of all the Christmases of your lifetime, ngayon lang naman ‘to. Isang beses lang hinihingi ng gobyerno para sa ‘yo and ang ano dito is para sa ‘yo… Hindi para sa gobyerno,” he said.

As early as October, mayors in already discouraged the conduct of holiday parties during the pandemic.

Local governments have also banned caroling as studies showed that individuals release respiratory droplets when singing.

The Department of Health also advised the public to hold parties limited to members of the same household to avoid transmissions.

Also read: Davao City allows conduct of Misa de Gallo

Duterte apologizes over restrictions on celebrations

Meanwhile, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año discouraged family reunions as they were also considered as mass gatherings.

“You have had so many Christmas blowouts and parties. Itong kaisa-isa lang, this one Christmas, the only Christmas maybe that the government will interfere in your private affairs,” Duterte said.

“You might think it’s too much. Government does not control us, of course, we cannot control you individually if what you do is what you want. The problem is we are preventing you from getting other people sick so that’s the problem,” he said.

“Would you be kind enough just to skip the festivities? Iwasan muna ninyo. You avoid it because it is for your own good and for the good of the community and eventually for the good of the country.”

Earlier, the OCTA Research team said the number of  in the Philippines could hit 500,000 by the end of 2021.

The experts said the total number of cases could reach between 470,000 and 500,000 (with a mean of 485,000 cases) by December 31.