President Rodrigo Roa Duterte appealed for public understanding Wednesday saying government action to gradually reopen the economy is intended to kickstart it while at the same time protect public health in the midst of a pandemic.
“I’m sorry but I cannot really kumbaga bitawan ko kayo, I will remove the leash — leash ‘yung tali. Pakawalaan na kayo kasi hindi ko kaya ang… The resultant happening or the resultant endgame there is too horrible to ponder,” the President said in a public address.
“I cannot make a guess. Governance is not made of guesses. It has to be anchored on pure science. Kaya naman malapit na.”
The government must be very circumspect in reopening the economy, he said, noting if there is a spike in number of infections, those should be within manageable numbers.
The President said the Philippines cannot follow the lead of big economies like the US and Brazil, in which their reopenings resulted in increased COVID-19 infections.
“We cannot afford really a total epidemic or pandemonium. Mahirap tayo, hindi tayo puwedeng sumugal. I cannot follow the example of other countries because as the experience have shown as of now, there were a lot of countries also opening up,” he said.
“Now, what really happened in these countries was that although they opened their economy for money to come in to the government coffers, ang nangyari is there was a spike. They were having a problem of almost a relapse, parang relapse sa in the totality of the number.”
He expressed confidence, however, that because of aggressive global efforts, a vaccine or cure may be available late this year.
The Department of Health (DOH) reported on Tuesday an additional 1,540 infections, bringing the nationwide tally to 47,873. A total 12,386 patients recovered from COVID-19.