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No more ‘ayuda’, says Duterte, as Philippines posts record 7k Covid-19 cases

11 August 2020

By The SUN
No more money for aid, says Duterte in his late-night address 
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has ruled out extending the lockdown in Metro Manila and neighboring areas, saying people need to work as the government has run out of money for financial aid.

Duterte made the announcement in a taped address aired on national TV aired late on Monday night.

His statement came as the Department of Health recorded a new daily high of  6,958 new Covid-19 cases, which raised the country’s total tally to 136,638.

Minus the total recoveries of 68,159 and the death toll of 2,293, the number of active cases, or patients still undergoing treatment, is 66,186.

Much as he himself would like to extend the stricter lockdown due to the continuing surge in cases, Duterte said he couldn’t because many people would want to go back to work.

“I’m between the devil and the deep blue sea,” he said, meaning, he was caught in-between addressing the country’s serious health concerns over the pandemic, and ensuring the economy recovered from its first recession in 39 years.
The currently enforced enhanced community quarantine is due to expire on Aug 18.

“If I order another lockdown, the money given by Congress has been spent to give you aid. I no longer have that. You’re on your own, that’s true. You have to get out and work so you can eat,” said Duterte.

The country hit a new daily high of nearly 7k cases yesterday (CNN PHL graphics)
Previously, Congress passed the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, which provided cash assistance to some 18 million low-income families for two months.
Duterte asked lawmakers in his recent State of the Nation Address to approve the second part of the Bayanihan act so he will have additional funds to help needy Filipinos ride out the worsening crisis, but has yet to receive a response.

In his message, Duterte also warned about using the military to enforce the stricter quarantine measures if people continued disregarding health protocols.

Meanwhile, Secretary Risa Hontiveros has called on the government to enforce a “health-heavy” response to the pandemic in the wake of record infections.

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“Hitting nearly 7,000 Covid-19 cases in one day should serve as a wake-up call to the government. Maliwanag na hindi nako-contain ang pandemya at hindi bumabagal ang transmission ng virus,” she said in a statement.

(It’s clear that the pandemic is not being contained and the rate of transmission of the virus is not slowing down).

Hontiveros suggested that testing be made available in high-risk and hotspot areas, more contact tracers should be hired, hospital capacity increased, and the protection of frontliners and communities enhanced.

She again scored the DoH for offering “alternative interpretation” of health data in its failure to give accurate, up-to-date report on the Covid-19 situation in the country.

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