Duterte calls for prayer, national unity amid possible lockdown extension
CALOOCAN CITY, April 7 (PIA) — President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on late Monday night called for prayer and national unity to succeed in the Philippines’ uphill battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, as he hinted for a possible extension of the 30-day Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine, which is scheduled to end April 12, Easter Sunday.
In his televised speech multicast by the Presidential Communications Operations Office and attached agencies, Duterte addressed a beleaguered nation that on latest count, recorded 414 new COVID-19 cases nationwide, which pushed the total to 3,660 with 163 fatalities.
“This being the Holy Week, I am calling on the nation to come together, this Holy Wednesday afternoon and pay tribute to the indomitable spirit of the Filipino and unite in one prayer to God to fight one common enemy,” the President said.
“Once again, I am asking the utmost cooperation of the public in these trying times,” he added.
Duterte also hinted on a possible extension of the stringent lockdown to last until April 30.
“We are inclined to extend the lockdown up to April 30. Tingnan natin after that,” he said amid growing anticipation of what his final decision will be in light of dwindling resources and a hampered national economy.
“Our resources under the Bayanihan to Heal as One law have been mobilized… Yung iba nakatanggap na, yung iba hindi pa. I am reiterating that our most vulnerable citizens must receive the government’s assistance immediately. Kung hindi patay yan sa gutom,” the President emphasized.
“The economy is not moving… wala tayong kita, ang ginagamit natin, ito na ang reserba nating pera,” he added.
Duterte also said the Bayanihan law fund, established to shield the country’s most vulnerable sectors from the impacts of the enhanced lockdown, would not be enough.
“The P100 billion for one month or the P270 billion for two months yan, naka-program na as earlier estimated is not enough. I’m calling on the Secretary of Finance to generate, magnakaw ka, maghiram ka, wala akong pakialam, i-produce mo yung pera,” he said.
“COVID-19 might not really cripple a country but it will, of course, cause a sadness and fear kung paano tayo makaraos dito… We try to remedy whatever kung may mapulot pa tayo sa daan… We are exploring options to adjust our budget,” he added. (PIA NCR)