‘He did not import COVID-19,’ President says in defense of Duque

/ 02:54 AM August 03, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte continues to stand by Health Secretary Francisco Duque III who has been beleaguered by criticisms for his handling of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis.


“Secretary Duque, they want your neck. Then I said: ‘Okay, you want me to fire Duque?’ Let me be satisfied. What was his sin? He did not import COVID,” Duterte said, speaking partly in Filipino, in a speech aired late Sunday night.

“He was there all the time and ang infection was overwhelming not only for the Philippines. I do not want to compare it with any country, but it was a global thing.”


Duterte issued the remarks amid persistent calls for Duque’s resignation for what critics said were repeated blunders amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In April, several senators signed a resolution urging Duque to spare the President from further trouble by just stepping down from his post.

A month later, Duque was condemned for announcing that the Philippines was already experiencing its second wave of COVID-19 infections.

And more recently, he drew fierce criticisms for claiming that the country had successfully flattened the pandemic curve even as the confirmed that COVID-19 cases continued to increase every day.

Despite these, Duterte said he continued to trust his Health secretary. He even consoled Duque during a meeting in Malacañang by asking him not to be too touchy about the criticisms.



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: coronavirus pandemic, coronavirus Philippines, COVID-19, DoH, Francisco Duque III, Rodrigo Duterte
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