President Rodrigo Duterte has pledged to donate his one month salary as addition to the funds being given by Malacañang cabinet in their effort to curb the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Sunday.
Duterte’s salary, as of the end of 2019, was around P400,000 per month, Panelo said.
Panelo also said he, together with the assistant secretaries of the Offices of the Chief Presidential Legal Counsel, will also donate at least 10 percent of their income directly to the Office of Civil Defense.
In a statement, Panelo said the Office of the President welcomes the initiative by the other branches of government to help in the fights against COVID-19.
“The Office of the President is pleased to know that the two other branches of the government have their own program of helping the battle against COVID-19 even as we acknowledge the support given by various heads of offices and agencies in their personal capacities to thwart the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
Most Cabinet members have pledged to donate around 75 percent of their salaries until December 2020 to support efforts versus COVID-19.
Senators and Congress representatives also pledged to donate part of their salaries for COVID-19 response, which would amount to around P50 million.
Panelo also said Duterte is listening to all suggestions and evaluating the best option regarding the possible extension of the lockdown.
“The President is all ears and eyes on this unfolding reality and expert opinions. He is evaluating the best option to take that will effectively insure the success of our war against this wily and faceless global enemy. He will make his decision in due time,” Panelo said.
On March 30, Duterte announced a P200-billion social amelioration program to provide cash aid to poor families as daily wage earners were displaced by the lockdown in Luzon, where over 50 million people were told to stay at home to prevent further spread of the disease.
The enhanced community quarantine, which took effect on March 17, entailed the unprecedented suspension of school, public transport and work- except for frontliners- in Luzon for a month.
Government has yet to decide whether to lift the quarantine which would end on midnight of April 13 or extend the lockdown, as some officials have suggested.
As of Sunday, the Philippines has confirmed 3,246 cases of the disease, with 64 recoveries and 152 deaths./Stacy Ang