Did Duterte downplay COVID-19 threat? Palace says gov’t followed WHO

3 years ago 0 Comments
President Rodrigo Duterte. Presidential photo/File

MANILA- President Rodrigo Duterte followed guidelines of the World Health Organization when he said there's "nothing to be extra scared" about the coronavirus threat 2 months ago, his spokesman said Wednesday following criticism on the chief executive.

Duterte, in a late-night address on Monday, claimed that he had long warned about the coronavirus pandemic.

"Itong COVID na ito, ito talaga ‘yung tunay na at the start sinabi ko sa inyo bantay kayo dito, bantay tayo, talagang yayariin tayo nitong COVID na ‘to," he said.

(I told you from the start to watch out for this COVID disease because it will really hit us.)

But Duterte, in his first public address on the disease on Feb. 3, told Filipinos that there was no need to be "extra scared" of COVID-19.

"Everything is well in the country. There's nothing really to be extra-scared of that coronavirus thing," Duterte said in a televised news conference 2 months ago.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said the President did not ignore the problem and was simply heeding the guidelines of the WHO at the time, noting that information on the pandemic is evolving.

"Hindi naman po pinagwalang-bahala gaya ng sinabi ko sa inyo kahapon, nung mga araw ng Pebrero ang WHO nagbigay din ng mga advisory sa atin na 'wag tayong mangamba dahil hindi pa pandemic," Panelo said in a virtual press briefing Wednesday.

(He didn't ignore it, like what I said, in February the WHO gave advisories that we shouldn't worry since it's not yet a pandemic.)

The WHO declared the spread of COVID-19 as a pandemic last month. It, however, declared the outbreak of the disease as a public health emergency of international concern in January.

"Ayaw niya (Duterte) po na lumikha ng masyadong anxiety o pagkatakot ang ating mga kababayan kaya sinabi niya 'yun. Subalit, immediately after that, nung makita niya na dumarating na 'yung unos nitong coronavirus, gumawa na siya ng lahat ng kaparaanan," Panelo said.

(He didn't want to cause too much anxiety or fear among our countrymen so he said that. But immediately after that, when he saw that the virus was spreading, he did everything he could.)

As the coronavirus crisis persists, Panelo urged the public to offer suggestions to the government instead of criticism.

"'Yung mga pagpuna natin sa pamahalaan 'wag na muna tayo masyadong maging mainit doon kumbaga, nakaraan na 'yun at ginagawan na ng paraan," he said.

(Let's not be too hot on the past issues of the government.)

"Siguro mas maganda, magbigay na lang tayo ng mungkahi na lang," he said.

(It may be better to just offer suggestions.)

The President, who just finished his self-quarantine on Tuesday, will continue to lead the government's response to the pandemic from Bahay Pagbabago, his official residence in Malacañang.

The Philippines is in a state of public health emergency and calamity over COVID-19 that has spread out of its origin, China, to nearly 200 countries and territories since it was first detected late last year.

Government has placed Luzon, an island group of over 50 million people, under an extended lockdown until April 30 to prevent further spread of the highly contagious disease.

As of Tuesday, the country has recorded a total of 3,764 cases of COVID-19, including 177 deaths and 84 recoveries.

Source From:https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/04/08/20/philippines-coronavirus-duterte-followed-who-guidelines-in-covid-19-response


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