President Rodrigo Duterte, on Thursday, admitted, “we are running low in supplies” two weeks before the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine ends on April 30.
The government already rolled-out what it called the biggest social aid in the Philippine history worth P275 billion to assist the 18 million poorest of the poor families amid the pandemic crisis.
“Sabi ko nga we cannot feed you forever, hanggang kamatayan. Hindi ka naman mapagamot kaagad-agad ilan lang ang ospital,” Duterte said.
(I told you we could not feed you forever, until death. We cannot treat you immediately since we only have a few hospitals.)
The President, however, said the government is getting help from the private sector to convert facilities into makeshift hospitals.
The Chinese medical team earlier said the Philippines should make more “Fangcang” or large-scale, temporary hospitals to prevent the spread of the virus.
Earlier this month, the government already converted large venues into quarantine facilities including Quezon City Institue, Duty-Free Philippines in Parañaque, Amoranto Stadium in Quezon City, Quezon Memorial Circle, Veterans Memorial Medical Center complex, PhilSports Complex in Pasig City, Food Terminal Inc. in Taguig City, Filinvest Tent in Muntinlupa and Philippine Arena in Bulacan.
The World Bank on April 10 approved the Philippines’ $500 million loan to combat the coronavirus in the country. But Duterte hinted that the loan was still not enough to meet the country’s need to survive the global crisis.
“Part of that really is to control COVID. Hindi mo pwede gamitin sa infrastructure [You cannot use it for infrastructure]. It is intended just for human being,” he said.
Duterte earlier said he would consider selling government assets as a last resort to fund the government’s COVID-19 response.
“What is the endgame? Pag maubos talaga ang pera,” Duterte said. “Pag wala na akong makuha, and we’re about to sink and really sink, I will sell all the assets of the government tapos itulong ko sa tao.”
(What is the endgame? If the money runs out. When I can’t get any more, and we’re about to sink, I will sell all the assets of the government and use it to help the people.)
Duterte cited the idea of selling the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) or the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).
Palace also announced yesterday the government considers selling the P700 million worth of jewelry collection seized from former first lady Imelda Marcos.