As #DutertePalpak trends, Palace claims COVID-19 surge not due to gov’t incompetence
MANILA, Philippines — The government is not to blame for the sudden rise of COVID-19 infections in the country, especially one year since its pandemic lockdown, Malacañang said Monday.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque was reacting to the Twitter hashtag “DutertePalpak” following the rise of COVID-19 new cases a day, reaching 4,000 to 5,000 per day.
Roque insisted that the government was doing an “excellent job” in managing the COVID-19 situation in the country up until the recent rise of new cases.
He also blamed the emergence of COVID-19 variants for the surge of new cases.
“Tingnan po natin ang datos, napababa po talaga natin ang kaso at itong buwan ng Marso lang sumipa muli,” he said in a Palace briefing.
(Let’s look at the data, we were able to slow down the rise of COVID-19 cases in the country, and it’s only this March that the cases started to spike again.)
“Tingin ko naman iyong kumpirmasyon na nasa Pilipinas na iyong mga bagong variants at itong mga bagong variants na mas nakakahawa ay ito ay isa sa dahilan ng surge, hindi po dahil palpak ang gobyerno,” he added.
(I think the confirmation that new variants of the coronavirus which is believed to be more infectious are one of the reasons for the surge, not government incompetence.)
All three known COVID-19 variants have been detected in the country — the UK variant (B.1.17), South African variant (B.1.351), and most recently, the Brazil variant (P.1).
The P.3 variant, unique in the Philippines, was also detected in a case in Visayas in February, but the Department of Health has yet to classify this as the Philippine variant due to technicalities.
Roque noted that the country’s case fatality rate remains lower than other countries.
The surge cannot also be blamed on the reopening of the economy and easing of quarantine restrictions, Roque said, adding that the number of cases remained fewer even during the holiday season.
“Ayaw ko pong isipin na ito’y dahil sa pagbubukas ng ekonomiya. Huwag po nating sisihin iyong ating pagbubukas ng ekonomiya. Hindi po talaga pagbubukas ng ekonomiya ang naging problema,” he said.
“So, I don’t think anyone should be blamed, kaya nga lang po it’s the nature of viruses to mutate and let’s just be thankful that it has mutated in a way na mas nakakahawa siya pero hindi po mas nakamamatay,” the Palace official added.
On Monday, the Philippines logged 5,404 new COVID-19 infections, bringing the total of active cases to 53,479.
This is by far the highest number of COVID-19 increase for 2021, and it is also higher than the infections last August 26 — when Metro Manila was also experiencing a surge — which were 5,227 cases.
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