Has strongman Duterte given up on COVID-19?

"Here is the President in his own words."


Sad, soft-spoken, despondent, frustrated but earnest, Rodrigo Roa Duterte addressed the nation briefly, 36 minutes after midnight of Aug. 16.  He seemed to have given up managing the pandemic caused by COVID-19.

Here is what the President said during his 15-minute monologue:

Covid is here to stay, perhaps forever. Life won’t be the same again. The virus will continue to claim lives.

No more going out at night for leisure. Mobility restricted.

Vaccines are not enough.  Get vaccinated at the first opportunity. Observe mask wearing, hand washing, distancing.

PH cannot make its own vaccines. PH has the money to buy them but it’s me-first for the vaccine surplus countries.

China promised to help with the vaccines, “no strings attached,” not even a ballpen.

He is asking America to give us more vaccines.

Meanwhile, the Philippines will park vessels in WPS and stay there. To protect the national territory and safeguard the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone.

Per Worldometers, as of August 17, the Philippines has had 1.755 million COVID cases, 30,366 deaths, 14,000 cases daily in past three days, and an average of 177 deaths daily in the past seven days (with low of 27 deaths on Aug. 16 and a high of 298 on Aug, 13). The Philippines has jabbed 27.8 million doses and fully inoculated 12.5 million people, 11.6 percent of target.

In Malaysia, the prime minister has just resigned to take responsibility for pandemic mismanagement.  Malaysia has given the first dose to 53.4 percent of the population and fully vaccinated 33.6 percent—three times the Philippines’ rate.  Malaysia also only has a third of total Philippine deaths, from COVID.  Yet, the King of Malaysia denounced his PM, Muhyiddin Yassin, who then resigned.

In contrast, in the Philippines, the Duterte family is trying to grab the two highest positions in the land come 2022.

Excerpts from Duterte’s Monday address:

Alam mo, mga kababayan ko, if you would recall the one na I appeared before the nation on TV to announce that there is an impending pandemic that would hit us severely.

At sinabi ko sa inyo ‘yung mga pagkukulang natin, wala tayong bakuna doon, hindi naman tayo mayaman, hindi pa tayo nakapag-imbento ng bakuna ng sarili natin.

Sabi ko we’ll just pray but do not go out of your houses, limit your mobility outside of your home kasi iyan lang muna ang panglaban natin.

And kung maglabas kayo, eh mask pa noon wala pa ‘yung face shield but it was mask, okay na sana ‘yun pero sabi ng experts may kulang so we have to use the shield, hugas ng kamay. Iyon lang naman, social distancing. Wala tayo panglaban eh.

You know, we do not have the vaccines locally. We import, we buy. Only a portion of the population will be serviced with that supply that comes to us.

Kaya kayo na lang ho magbantay sa sarili ninyo kasi may problema tayo.

We have the Beta, Delta, Lambda, Alpha, kung ano-ano na lang.

But itong Gamma, itong dadating nila na sabi ng mga scientists … wala pala talagang panglaban. Ang ating depensa lang talaga is iwas, balay / bahay, tapos wash your hands, do not go out when it is not necessary.

Habang may bakuna, as long as there is a supply nearby na ang punta ninyo, magpabakuna na kaagad kayo para sigurado.

Alam mo, nasabi ko ba sa inyo... Ito publicly, I’m sure the Chinese guys are listening and Mr. Xi Jinping. Pag-umpisa nito noong nag-announce ako na may music pa na parang malungkot, I called the President of China, President Xi Jinping, at sinabi ko sa kanya...

 Na-project ko na na kanya-kanya ito, “Kami muna bago kayo.” Iyon ang mangyayari talaga ‘pag mga ganoong klaseng events sa buhay natin, kami muna bago kayo.

Sabi ko sa kanya, “mahirap lang kami. We know we would be a tailender, nasa huli kami nito, but if you have some extra puwede ba kaming mapagkalooban mo ng kaunti para sa aming—para sa bayan ko.”  Sabi niya, “Do not worry, we will help you.” Kaya dumating iyong mga bakuna. 

I am just asking America to give us more kung mayroon lang sila. We are not—I know that mauna kami—or kami muna, we first before you. We understand it and we accept it. But if there is an excess of supply sa inyo, pakitulong naman dito sa bayan ko. We have the money, we buy, we do not ask. We have saved money for this event.

Until now, walang hiningi ‘yang China sa akin maski ballpen. Walang pinakiusap, wala lahat. Except that their boats are there.

At sabi ko naman, sinabi ko na ako rin sabi ko maglagay ako. That’s about one month or two months ago. Sabi ko, “I want my ships also there. I do not want war with anybody, not with China, lalo na Amerika kasi nandito sila sa lupa natin.”

Pero as a feature or semblance of our claim, mayroon tayong mga barko diyan at saka hindi ko na papaalisin ‘yan. No way na magsabi ako, “atras kayo,” na ginawa ni—nila Trillanes pati ni Alberto, ambassador. No way ako mag-ano. Sabi ko kung hindi ko —kung magkaletsehan, wala tayong magawa, we have to fight, because I am not about ready to retreat. Iyon lang.

Now, this (pandemic) is worldwide.  It has changed the lifestyle of everybody in this planet. Gone are those days, wala na ‘yun, suwerte tayo nakatikim tayo na noon makapasyal tayo, mag-inuman maski saan, nary a care about ano getting a virus somewhere.

Matagal pa ‘to. Itong virus na ‘to will just circulate in the air for years. So itong mask, itong limited social contacts natin, nandiyan na ‘yan, ‘yung distancing, at sa bahay, hugas.

Ganoon na ang buhay ng Pilipino, I think, for the next how many years, hindi na mawala ‘yan. Iyon na ang style. Wala na tayo ‘yung sabing pasyal ng gabi, wala na.

For those—‘yung mga anak nating maliliit, okay lang. They would have no—wala silang—or something na losing anything. But ‘yung mga teenager ngayon na nakatikim, they were really longed for it but I am telling them straight, it’s—the virus is here to stay and it will change your life, at least forever, until mawala ito.

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Topics: Tony Lopez , President Rodrigo Roa Duterte , COVID-19?
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