‘You demean my government’—Duterte lashes out at healthcare workers

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President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday night lashed out at healthcare workers, saying they could have “written a letter” or asked for an audience to request a temporary return to an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) for Metro Manila instead of making a public statement.

“Do not try to demean government. You are not actually criticizing. You demean my government, your own government,” Duterte said in a televised meeting in Malacañang convened to discuss the medical workers’ appeals.

Duterte claimed that the lack of funds is holding back the government’s coronavirus response, even after the country’s debt hit a record-high P9.05 trillion due to borrowings to address the pandemic. 

“To go almost on a rampage, parang galit at mag-rebolusyon rebolusyon… Alam ninyo nagtatrabaho kaming lahat. Kung ‘yan lang ang makaya ng pera natin, e ‘di hanggang diyan lang tayo,” he said.

“Next time you can just ask for an audience pero wag po kayong magsigaw-sigaw, rebolusyon,” Duterte told them.

“To send a message without giving government a chance, ngayon anong gusto ninyo? I will implement other things in this government without informing you? Would you be happy with that?” Duterte  added.

“There is no need for you and for the guys, 1,000 of you, telling us what to do publicly. You could have just written us a letter. Lahat naman ng sinasabi ninyo sinusunod namin,” he said.

Medical organizations pleaded for a “timeout,” asking for a two-week return to an ECQ in Metro Manila as coronavirus cases in the country continued to surge.

In response, the government granted a two-week modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), which is less stringent than an ECQ but stricter than the general community quarantine, for the National Capital Region and the provinces of Bulacan, Laguna, Cavite, and Rizal starting August 4.

Duterte, in his talk,  started out expressing sympathy for the health workers, recognizing that they are “bone-weary” after several months of battling the infectious respiratory illness.

However, as he went on,  his tone became harsher as he told health workers that they are trying to “demean” the government.

“Kung sabihin ninyo you raise the spectacle of agony ninyo, you treat it as if you are about ready to stop work, huwag naman ganon kasi kawawa ang mga kababayan. Sino ang aasahan namin? I am sure that is not in your heart, I am sure that in your despair, I would like to tell you na ang iyong gobyerno ay hindi nag-iiwan ng mga trabahante. We are doing everything possible to alleviate the situation, to assist our healthcare workers,” he said.

His voice rising, he added, “Pero huwag kayo magsigaw-sigaw rebolusyon. Sa totoo…Magsabi ka rebolusyon, go ahead, try it. Sirain natin, patayin natin lahat ng mga may COVID. Is that what you want? We can always end our existence in this manner,” he said.

“I dare you, do it,” he said.

He also said  that nurses should go into the police if they want higher pay.

“I don’t give a f…if you gather one thousand, two thousand, but bear in mind na kayo mismo ipa-take over ko…tingnan ko kung ano ang lagay ninyo. We are not incompetents here because we are not doctors. Kayo dapat ang…You should do the soul-searching. Kayo ang makatulong sana at wala kayong ginagawa, puro magreklamo…what can I do? I have always been praying to God for a vaccine,” he said.

The Philippines currently has 103,185 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as a record 5,032 new cases were added to the tally on Sunday./Stacy Ang

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