Zarate to Panelo: Try to stop eating for a month

/ 07:59 PM March 15, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate has dared Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo to “try not eating for a month” after the Palace official said no one dies from hunger as he tried to hit back at critics of Metro Manila’s “community quarantine” due to COVID-19.

“Such statements are the height of callousness especially now that workers are finding it hard to go to work because of the lockdown, while at the same time they are wary because of the apparent unreadiness of the government to fight COVID-19,” Zarate said in a statement on Sunday.


“Maybe Secretary Panelo should try not eating for a month and see what its effect would be,” he also said.

Panelo earlier said, “Walang namamatay sa gutom. Ang isang buwan, hindi ka pa mamamatay (Nobody dies from hunger. One month, you still won’t die),” while he addressed those who expressed their opinions against the 30-day Metro Manila community quarantine.


President Rodrigo Duterte has placed the National Capital Region on a community quarantine amid the rising number of persons infected with COVID-19.  Nationwide, the Department of Health has recorded 140 persons with COVID-19, including 11 fatalities.

However, Panelo clarified in a later interview with DZMM that there should be drastic measures to address the outbreak since hunger and economic issues would no longer matter if many Filipinos are already infected.

“Then again we will repeat this is a matter of national survival, its a matter of life and death. We really have to do something about ourselves otherwise damay-damay tayo,” he noted.

Zarate, on the other hand, said the government should instead focus on creating economic packages to shield poor Filipino families from the impact of the Metro Manila community quarantine.

“What we need now are economic packages for workers like a month’s worth of salary that should be subsidized by the government or their company and given to workers affected by the lockdown. This also goes for families in the informal sector,” Zarate pointed out.

“There should also be a moratorium on electricity and water bill collections or better yet there should be a 1-month subsidy for these utilities,” he added.  “The additional P1,000 pension increase for Social Security System (SSS) should now be given because the elderly are the most susceptible to COVID-19. The social pension should also immediately be increased by at least P500.”

COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus that first emerged in China’s city of Wuhan in Hubei province in late 2019.


The International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses named the novel coronavirus as SARS-CoV-2.

Coronavirus is a family of viruses, which surfaces have a crown-like appearance. The viruses are named for the spikes on their surfaces.

Worldwide, there are over 152,000 persons infected and 5,801 individuals already dead — the bulk of which were from China.


For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.
What you need to know about Coronavirus.
For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

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TAGS: 2019 Novel Coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, Bayan Muna, community quarantine, Coronavirus, COVID-19, House of Representatives, lockdown, National Capital Region, nCoV update, NCR, Philippine news updates, President Rodrigo Duterte, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo, Rep. Carlos Zarate
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