‘Do not try to demean government,’ President tells frontliners for airing pleas publicly
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte gave medical frontliners an earful on Sunday night for ranting publicly about their plight duing the COVID-19 pandemic instead of seeking an audience with the administration.
“Do not try to demean government. You’re not actually criticizing. You demean my government, your own government,” Duterte said in a taped speech.
“Then you threaten a revolution. This is our country. You want us to destroy it? Start it now,” he added, speaking partly in Filipino.
Duterte made these remarks on the heels of a plea from health care workers to reimpose a strict lockdown in Metro Manila to give them time to recuperate from exhaustion due to the continuous surge of COVID-19 cases nationwide, which had already breached the 100,000 mark.
“To send a message without giving the government a chance, so what do you want now? That I will implement other things in this government without informing you? Would you be happy with that?” he asked the medical frontliners.
In a part of his speech, Duterte recognized that health workers were exhausted after several months of leading the fight against the infectious respiratory disease.
“We are aware that you are tired and that you have worked even beyond 24 hours a day. That’s because we have nobody to turn to. You’re the ones who studied. You’re the ones who know,” he said.
However, the President’s tone changed as he dared health care professionals to stage a revolution if they think it would solve the problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
He repeated that the lack of funds had been holding back the government’s COVID-19 response.
“There is no need for you — 1,000 of you — telling us what to do publicly. You could have just written us a letter. We do follow everything that you say,” he said. “You know it’s the resources — the money. You want me to buy things. The problem is my pocket is already empty because we have suffered economically.”
“But to go on an outrage, or a rampage… like you’re angry and want a revolution. Don’t be like that. You know, we are all working. If this is all that we can do with our money, then that’s all we can do,” he added.
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