PRRD orders Navy to convert luxury yacth into another COVID-19 hospital
CALOOCAN CITY, April 4 (PIA) — President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on late night Friday directed the Philippine Navy to convert the presidential yacht, the BRP Ang Pangulo, into another healthcare facility for COVID-19 patients.
“Ang Philippine Navy, inalert ko sabi ko yung mga barko ninyo na magaganda, yung [Ang] Pangulo, yung barko ng Presidente ng Pilipinas, maganda ‘yan,” Duterte said as he addressed a nation besieged by the health emergency crisis during the 19th day of the month-long Luzon-wide lockdown he declared earlier. His almost hour-long speech was multicast by the Presidential Communications Operations Office and its attached agencies.
“Sabi ko sa Navy, gawing ospital agad, pati [para] magtulong sila ng iba,” the President added.
The 77.33-meter long BRP Ang Pangulo is an auxiliary command ship, which serves as an extension of Malacañang and can become the President’s office anytime the need arises. Duterte, however said he has never used the ship for that purpose.
“Ang loob niyan parang hotel. Ako po sabihin ko sa inyo, hindi ako nagamit. Tiningnan ko ‘yan umakyat ako minsan kasi may pinuntahan ako sa Bureau of Customs. Pero hindi ko sinakyan ‘yan, kailan man ‘yung yate ng presidente, hindi ako bagay diyan, pang-bangka lang ako,” he added.
To recall, it was Duterte who first made the BRP Ang Pangulo accessible to the average Filipino.
Moreover, there have been ongoing talks between government and some private ship owners to set up floating quarantine hospitals in order to address the surge of suspected and confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country.
The Department of Health on Friday announced 385 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the country’s total to 3,018. Of the 3,018 cases, there are now a total of 136 fatalities and 52 recoveries.
The President, meanwhile, reiterated his call to avoid gathering into groups and maintaining effective social distancing to prevent infection.
“Para maprotektahan ko ‘yung mga inosente, ‘yung ayaw mamatay. If you keep on converging, at kung saan-saan ka [pupunta], then you spread the [virus]… hangin e. Pag nag-ubo ka dito, [*coughs] ilang metro ‘yan e, dadalhin dun,” he said.
Duterte also said to help prevent fake news from being spread, or thwart troublemakers from twisting the facts in order to agitate the public into going outside, he has now compelled himself to address the nation on a daily basis whenever possible.
“Kailangan akong magsalita dahil maraming tanong ang ating mga kababayan. So I am constrained to talk to you every day, if possible, because there’s so many issues and questions that are being asked from us in government,” he said.
“I do not have the duty to lie to you. Bakit ako magsinungaling? Wala akong obligasyon na magsinungaling sa inyo. Bakit ko papahirapan sarili ko? Just to lie to you to make you happy?” he added.
“I govern properly and right. If you’re happy, you smile. If you’re not, you criticize,” Duterte said. (PIA NCR)