President Rodrigo Duterte said he will tap the military to enforce community lockdowns as cases continue to surge despite placing Metro Manila and 4 other provinces under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine.
"Kapag hindi talaga madala, mapipilitan gamitin ang military. The military is there to enforce the community-based lockdown," the President said in his address to the nation late Monday night.
Duterte acknowledged Monday's record high number of new infections at 6,958, which brought the total number of cases to 136,638.
The President admitted he is in a quandary now as doctors and healthcare workers have recommended reverting to Enhanced Community Quarantine -- the highest lockdown level -- for a month to address the spread of the virus while other groups are pushing to open the economy as soon as possible.
"Ito ang dilemma ko. Gusto ng mga doktor na i-lockdown. Ito namang sa kabila, kailangan nating palabasin yung mga tao lalo na sa mga trabaho na kailangan talaga ng bayan," he said.
Meanwhile, the President has volunteered to be the first to receive experimental vaccine for COVID-19 from Russia to ensure that it works and has no unwanted side effects.
"Ako pagdating ng bakuna, para walang satsat dyan, in public, magpainjection. Ako yung maunang mag-eksperimentuhan (Once the vaccine is available, in public, I will have myself injected. I volunteer to be the first for the experiment)," the President said.
"Okay para sa akin, sabihin ko rin kay President Putin na malaki ang tiwala ko sa kanilang studies (It's okay with me, I will tell President Vladimir Putin I have great faith in their studies," Duterte added, as he thanked his Russian counterpart for assuring the Philippines of free vaccine supply once it becomes available.
"Nagpapasalamat kami. Someday, makabayad kami ng utang na loob namin sa inyo. (We are very thankful. Someday we will be able to repay our debt of gratitude.) I promise you that the Philippines and Russia will remain friends forever," he said.
Duterte appealed to Filipinos to continue observing health protocols even as countries such as Russia, China and the United States are preparing to launch their own vaccines.
"Malapit na po. Ang vaccine, they are to be distributed worldwide by September or October.... By December, we will have a COVID free December and we can enjoy this Christmas season," the President said.