Overpopulation makes social distancing tough to enforce, Duterte admits
BACOLOD CITY—President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday (March 11) admitted it was tough to enforce the social distancing protocol to prevent the spread of SARS Cov2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, as a result of overpopulation.
He said the failure of some government agencies to fully implement family planning programs was partly to blame.
“How can social distancing be enforced in places like Quiapo and on buses where there are so many Filipinos crammed in urban areas,” Duterte said in a speech at the inauguration of the Ports Operation Building in Dumaguete City. Quiapo is a heavily populated district in Manila.
“This is because we have not been able to implement the family planning program,” he added.
Duterte said it was only former president Fidel Ramos, a Protestant, who really insisted on family planning.
“I am the second,” Duterte said. “The Church does not want so it’s really a collision course,” he said, adding that he did not want to fight with the Catholic Church, though.
The Philippines, he said, now has a population of 110 million and has the second fastest population growth in Asia.
“It is high time this is reviewed,” Duterte said. “We should match the family planning programs of our government with our GDP (gross domestic product),” the President said.
Prior to the rollout of the national vaccination program, he said “increased mobility must be done with utmost caution and responsibility.”
“But the economy must be reopened because people are hungry. They have to work to survive,” he said.
Duterte appealed to the public to continue to observe the prescribed health and safety protocols to slow down the spread of coronavirus.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.