President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday fired back at critics of his government's coronavirus response and urged the public to continue with precautions such as wearing face masks while waiting for a vaccine.
Current quarantine classifications are good until Sept. 30 and Cabinet secretaries reported to the President in a livestreamed meeting that contact tracing efforts and isolation efforts were improving. Officials had set an end-September target to flatten the curve or keep new cases down.
"You must be hearing of critics, and yung walang magawa, that we are not doing enough. Ano bang enough ang gusto ninyo? May ospital. May kama at may punerarya. Andiyan lahat, ano pa ba gusto ninyo?" he said.
(You must be hearing critics, those who have nothing better to do, that we are not doing enough. What kind of enough do you want? There are hospitals, beds and funeral parlors. Everything's there so what more do you want?)
Duterte addressed Vice President Leni Robredo, one of the critics of the government's handling of the pandemic. "If you really want to do away with COVID, sprayan natin itong Pilipinas o Manila ng pesticide galing sa eroplano para sa lahat (If you really want to do away with COVID, let's spray the entire Philippines or Manila with pesticide from an airplane)."
"The only thing we can do really is wear a mask, wear a face mask and that’s it. Wait for the vaccine," he said.
Last week, Duterte extended the State of Calamity in the entire Philippines by one year until September 2021. This will enable him to tap calamity funds, impose price freezes and price caps and offer interest-free loans.
The President also heeded the call of medical frontliners to keep the one-meter physical distancing requirement in public transport, overriding plans to reduce it to 0.75 meter.