After President Rodrigo Duterte used the term “maliit na bagay (small thing)” on the issue of the COVID-19 pandemic, his spokesman Harry Roque clarified today that the Chief Executive did not underestimate the impact of the pandemic on Filipinos.
“Hindi minamaliit ng President ang paghihirap ng sambayanan. Ang sinasabi po niya, babangon po tayo, at malapit na po ‘yan at parating na ang mga bakuna,” Roque explained at the Palace briefing on Tuesday.
On Monday, Duterte announced in his televised address that, “Kaya natin ito. Itong COVID-19, maliit na bagay lang ito. Madami tayong nadaanan. Huwag kayong matakot, hindi ko kayo iwanan.”
According to Roque, what the Duterte wants to say is that the pandemic is only temporary and will pass.
“Ang sinasabi ng Presidente, patuloy naman pong nabubuhay ang Pilipinas sa gitna ng COVID. Ikinalulungkot natin ang mga nawalan ng trabaho, namatay pero by and large, ang sinasabi niya ay compared with other countries,” Roque added.
“We have been spared from even more deaths experienced by wealthier, highly developed countries which have more health care resources,” he said.
Roque insists Duterte did not downplay pandemic’s effect on PH
So far, the Philippines has recorded about 4,000 COVID-19 cases per day in the past few weeks.
There have been 626,893 COVID-19 cases in the country. Of that number, 53,479 were active and 12,837 died.
Roque also said that compared to last year, the country’s facilities for treating the sick are better.
“We are not back to square one kasi po we have better facilities, we have more clinical bed capacity, we have more ward bed capacities, we have prepared the health care capacity para nga po gamutin iyong mas maraming mga magkakasakit,” Roque said.
What is important is that the vaccination that is seen as the key to returning to normalcy in the Philippines has already started.
This is in addition to the government’s purchase of 1 million doses from Sinovac which will arrive after March.