Duque gets no rebuke from Duterte over booboo on ‘flattened’ virus curve
MANILA, Philippines — Health Secretary Francisco Duque III did not receive a scolding from President Rodrigo Duterte for erroneously declaring that the Philippines has “successfully flattened” the COVID-19 pandemic curve since April, Malacañang said Thursday.
“Wala pong pagsabon na nangyari,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque said in a televised Palace briefing.
(There was no scolding that happened.)
In a pre-State of the Nation Address forum on Wednesday, Duque said the country “flattened” the COVID-19 curve since April. Hours later, however, he backpedaled and made a clarification that what he meant was a “bent” in the curve of COVID-19 cases.
The Department of Health chief’s pronouncement immediately drew criticisms from the public as well as some Senators.
Roque revealed that Duque immediately called him after the incident.
“Matapos nangyari ‘yun tumawag agad sa akin si Secretary Duque at sinabi nga niya na parang mali ‘yung salitang nagamit niya. Sabi ko naman korekin lang natin,” Roque said.
(After the incident, Secretary Duque immediately called me and said that he seemed to have used the wrong word. I told him to just correct it.)
“Kinorek lang po. ‘Di naman na-flatten, nabali at ang ibig sabihin niya eh mukha talagang kumonti ang kaso matapos ang mag ECQ (enhanced community quarantine),” he added.
(It was corrected. It wasn’t flattened, just bent. And what he meant was that there were really fewer COVID-19 cases after the ECQ.)
This was not the first time Duque drew fierce criticisms for his remarks amid the pandemic. In May, he was condemned for announcing that the Philippines was already experiencing its second wave of COVID-19 infections.
He was also called out over his handling of the health crisis with some sector even calling for his resignation. But Duterte has repeatedly defended his health chief from backlash.
The President even consoled Duque during a meeting in Malacañang, asking him not to be too touchy on the criticisms.
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