President Rodrigo Duterte did not scold Health Secretary Francisco Duque III over the secretary’s erroneous remarks that the Philippines has “successfully flattened” the coronavirus pandemic curve, Malacañang said on Thursday.
Duque on Wednesday initially said the country flattened the pandemic curve in April, only to retract his statement hours later to say that what he meant was a “bent” in the curve.
After causing public confusion, Duque was seen in a meeting with Duterte on Wednesday night.
“Wala pong pagsabon na nangyari (There was no scolding that happened.),” Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said in a Palace press briefing.
Roque said Duque immediately informed him of the erroneous remarks which were also corrected.
“Matapos nangyari yan, tumawag agad sa akin si Sec. Duque at sinabi nga niya na parang mali yung salitang nagamit niya, sabi ko korekin lang natin (After the incident, Sec. Duque immediately called me and informed me that he used the wrong word. I told him that let’s just correct it.),” Roque said.
“Kinorek lang po. Di naman na-flatten, nabali at ang ibig sabihin niya eh mukha talagang kumonti ang kaso matappos tayo mag ECQ (enhanced community quarantine). (It was just corrected. It wasn’t flattened but bent. And what he meant was that there were fewer cases after the ECQ.),” said Roque.
This was not the first time that Duque drew flak for his remarks in relation to the pandemic.
In May, Duque announced that the Philippines was already seeing a second wave of infections only for the Palace to clarify that Duque only had a “different opinion.”
Several individual an dgroups, including doctors and nurses associations, majority of the Senate, as well as some politicians have demanded the resignation of Duque for his alleged mishandling of the COVID response in the Philippines./Stacy Ang