Health of Filipinos paramount for Duterte – Bong Go

/ 06:46 PM February 03, 2020
Rodrigo Duterte - Christopher Go

President Rodrigo Duterte with Sen. Christopher Go. (Photo from the office of Sen. Christopher Go)

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte puts the welfare of Filipinos above everything else, Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go told broadcaster Ted Failon on Sunday in the DZMM radio program “Failon Ngayon” on Monday.

Go was reacting to criticisms about the government’s apparently delayed response to the worldwide 2019 novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV ARD) outbreak.


“Hindi naman pwedeng biglain na lang. Binabalanse po ng gobyerno, and rest assured po, nuuna parati ni Pangulong Duterte ang kapakanan, interes at kalusugan ng bawat Pilipino,” Go said. “Tinitingnan niya ang pagkalahataan. Nasa taas po siya bilang ama. Tinitingnan niya po ang kapakanan ng bawat anak niya.”

[Things just can’t be done suddenly. The government is balancing things, and rest assured, President Duterte is prioritizing the welfare, interest, and health of every Filipino. He’s looking at the big picture. He’s looking at the welfare of each of his children.]


In a statement and various radio interviews on Sunday morning, Feb. 2, Go announced that the President had ordered the expansion of the temporary travel ban over the 2019-nCoV ARD to include travelers coming from any part of China and its Special Administrative Regions to help combat the spread of the disease.

Go added that the President reached the decision on his recommendation and the consensus of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, headed by Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.

“Wala munang makakapasok na galing sa bansang Tsina. Hindi naman po ibig sabihin na Chinese nationals lang po. Lahat po ng mga eroplano galing Tsina ay hindi makakapasok sa ating bansa. At kung ikaw naman ay Filipino citizen na papasok sa ating bansa, dadaan ka po sa 14-day quarantine,” Go explained.

[Nobody who came from China could enter the country. This does not refer only to Chinese nationals. All planes coming from China cannot enter our country. And if you’re a Filipino citizen coming in, you will have to undergo a 14-day quarantine.]

“I wish to emphasize that we are not singling out Chinese nationals,” he said in a previous statement. “We empathize with China given what they are going through but we are doing this to protect the country and its people. The Philippine government is committed to help China and other affected countries address this worldwide health concern.”

The senator stressed that the response of the President to the situation was not delayed. According to him, the travel ban decision was made based on recommendations of key officials and health experts taking into consideration all factors that might affect the country.

“Kaka-declare lang po ng WHO [World Health Organization] na global health emergency itong nCoV. At ’yan po ay isa din sa binabasehan ng ating Inter-agency Task Force. And even WHO, hindi naman sila nag-advise ng travel restrictions o travel ban. Pero si Pangulong Duterte, he decided na po dahil kailangan po.”


[The WHO has just declared the nCoV as a global health emergency. And that’s part of what the Inter-Agency Task Force considered. And even who did not advise travel restrictions or a travel ban. But President Duterte decided to order a ban because it’s necessary.]

According to Go, the President would meet with the Inter-Agency Task Force and medical experts on Monday afternoon, Feb. 3, to discuss the situation — after which he would conduct a press conference.

“Antayin lang po natin ang ating Pangulo,” Go said.

[Let’s just wait for our President.]

Meanwhile, the Senate Committee on Health will conduct a public hearing on the 2019-nCoV ARD on Tuesday morning, Feb. 4.

“Base doon sa tatlong resolusyon na inihain ng mga kasamahan ko sa Senado ay magdidinig po tayo bukas. At inimbitahan din natin ang iba’t ibang ahensiya ng gobyerno,” Go said. “Dun po lahat ng reklamo at hinaing ninyo na gusto niyo iparating sa executive department, iniimbitahan din po natin sila. Magtulungan na lang tayo. ‘Wag nang mag-spread ng fake news.”

[We will have a hearing tomorrow, based on the three resolutions filed by my colleagues in the Senate. And we invited representatives from various government agencies. Let’s all help each other. Let’s not spread fake news.]

Go also urged all government critics to join the public hearing.

“Iniimbitahan ko na rin ang mga bashers at netizen na wala pong magawa kundi batikusin ang ating gobyerno. Welcome po kayong sumali at dun niyo po batikusin ang iba’t ibang ahensya ng gobyerno,” he said. “Alam niyo hindi makakatulong ang pambabatikos ninyo. Sa ibang bansa, napakaraming naging biktima din pero hindi po sila nagpapanic. Naghahanap sila ng solusyon. Wala silang hate posts. Nagko-cooperate sila sa gobyerno para labanan itong virus na ito. ‘Yan po sa ibang bansa.”

[We’re inviting all the bashers and netizens who do nothing but criticize our government. You’re all welcome to join the hearing and criticize the government agencies there. You know, your criticisms don’t help. In other countries, there have been many victims, but they’re not in panic. They’re looking for solutions. The don’t have hate posts. They’re cooperating with their government to fight this virus. That’s what they’re doing in other countries.]

Go urged the public to comply with the guidelines provided by health officials to help prevent the spread of the virus.

According to a DOH advisory, severe cases of coronavirus may result in pneumonia, acute respiratory syndrome, kidney problems and death.

The DOH has advised the public to wash their hands frequently, avoid contact with live animals, drink plenty of water and make sure that food is cooked properly.

DOH also advised the public to avoid those who have cough and colds and to always cover one’s mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing to stop the possible spread of viruses. Those with flu-like symptoms are also advised to consult a doctor.


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