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“’Wag na tayo magsisihan,” says Duterte, right after saying Cebu was overconfident about COVID-19

In a televised public briefing in Malacañang late Monday night, President Rodrigo Duterte urged citizens to stop pointing fingers, just as the country’s COVID-19 cases passed the 30,000 mark.

“’Wag na lang tayo magsisihan kasi nandiyan na rin ’yan [coronavirus],” the president said. He pointed out Cebu’s situation, where there are 4,449 COVID-19 cases as of writing—that’s 14.5 percent of the total 30,682 nationwide cases.

“Ang Cebu ngayon ang may problema. May problema sila… alam mo kasi kapag may problema, tapunan na ’yan eh,” he said. “If you solve a problem locally among the officials there, there’s bound to be a derailment in the programs of government because they will start to blame each other.”

While the president called on Filipinos to stop blaming each other for the spike in cases, he also noted that Cebu may have been too complacent about the disease’s threat. “’Yung mga taga-Cebu, bakit marami [ang COVID-19 cases]? Because you were too confident and too complacent about it. Parang binalewala niyo, ayan dumating,” he continued.

On the other hand, separate projects were met with criticism due to a supposed lack of coordination with local government units. One of which is Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go’s “Balik Probinsya” program where two beneficiaries tested positive for COVID-19 right upon arriving in their hometowns in Leyte that previously had no cases. Dr. Minerva Molon, Department of Health Regional Director, said that Balik Probinsya’s implementation needed further review in case of lapses.

Back in March, the government rolled out a P27 billion package to fight COVID-19, with over half going to tourism, P3 billion for test kits and P2 billion for the Department of Labor and Employment’s “social protection program.” This led to several questions over the government’s priorities. Health Secretary Francisco Duque III also came under fire for placing blame on his subordinates, although he later admitted fault in the delay of COVID-19 compensations.

Read more:
It’s about time we put a stop to the “pasaway” narrative
Duterte, a “supporter” of press freedom, once said: “Stop journalism in this country.”
What happened to the COVID-19 funds, DOH? Ombudsman wants to know

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