Duterte: No ‘magic bullet’ to solve PH’s COVID-19 problems

NO MAGIC BULLET. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte talks to the people after holding a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members at the Matina Enclaves in Davao City on August 24, 2020. Duterte said there is no “magic bullet” to solve the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic as he sought for more patience until a vaccine is made available. PNA photo by Robinson Niñal Jr.

PHILIPPINE President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday, August 25, said there is no “magic bullet” to solve the country’s problems related to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“This is an update again, a weekly (report on) what we are trying to do. We will also continue to respond to the rising challenges in our pandemic, recalibrating our strategies if we must based on science and data,” he said in a taped public address.

“Ganito ‘yan mga kababayan ko (To my countrymen) there is no magic wand or if you want a stronger statement a — the magic bullet, a silver bullet, that will solve our problems,” he added.

Duterte admitted that the government is “not perfect,” but assured that they are trying their best.

“May sinubukan tayo (We tried something) since we are not perfect,” he said.

“So nandito kami ngayon para mag-usap uli kung ano ang hindi maganda, ones that — the ones that we see fit to change and unahin kung sinong dapat iwan (We are here today to discuss what are not good, the ones that we see fit to change and prioritize whoever is left behind),” he added.

COVID-19 vaccine

Duterte reiterated that Russia and China said they will help the Philippines in addressing the pandemic through the vaccines they are separately developing.

“Russia, China, I dunno if anybody, alam ko lang yung dalawa, nag-announce na meron sila at (It’s nearly complete. Russia and China have both announced that they have it and they’re) ready and they’re willing to help. Both countries lumabas ng statement na tulungan nila ako (released a statement that they will help me),” he said.

The president also assured that the first ones to receive a free COVID-19 vaccine in the country will be the poorest of the poor.

“Ang mauna sa bakuna, ulitin ko, ay yung mga tao na nasa sa listahan ng gobyerno na tumatanggap ng Pantawid. Ito yung mga mahirap. Ang sunod yun, yung mga tao na hindi nakalista at mahirap (The first to receive vaccine will be those in the Pantawid list. Next will be those not in the list but are also poor),” he said.

‘Don’t add fuel to the fire’

Duterte told Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo to avoid adding fuel to the fire, following her public address where she took a swipe at the way the government is handling the pandemic.

“Please do not add fuel to the fire. You will just destroy the government,” he said.

“Wag ninyong sirain ang gobyerno kasi masisira ang tao. Pag nasisira ang gobyerno, lulutang tayong lahat. Maski na sabihin ninyo mamatay ako bukas, it cannot solve the problem of the country (Do not destroy the government because it will also destroy the people. If the government is destroyed, we will all float away. Even if you say that I will die tomorrow, it cannot solve the problem of the country),” he added.

In her address released Monday night, Robredo said in Filipino: “No one is at the helm, no direction, no clear horizon as to when and how this pandemic will be addressed.”
She noted that Filipinos seemed to have been left by the government to fend for themselves.

“As if we should shoulder the blame of infections and death, for being too undisciplined, as we have been called. As if we have nothing to expect from our leaders – or there are no leaders at all. As if we have been left to fend for ourselves,” she said.

Robredo also urged everyone to help each other in the fight against the pandemic.

“At kung walang mamumuno, tayo mismo ang hahakbang, tayo mismo ang magtutulungan, tayo mismo ang bibitbit sa isa’t isa (If there is no one leading, we ourselves will make a step, we will help each other, we will carry each other),” she said.

“Tayo mismo ang tititig sa mukha ng krisis na ito at buong-tapang na ihahayag: Maaari mo kaming mapaluhod, pero hindi kailanman mapipigilan ang paulit-ulit at taas-noo naming pagtindig. Pilipino kami. Mas malakas kami sa anumang pagsubok (We ourselves will look into the face of the crisis and bravely say: You may bring us down to our knees but you will not stop us from proudly standing up. We are Filipinos. We are stronger in whatever problems we face),” she added.

Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at [email protected].

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