MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte is appealing for unity including his critics even as he also urged every Filipino to help the government in addressing the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
Duterte on Friday expressed appreciation to Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo for taking the initiative to provide assistance to health workers who are sacrificing to fight Covid-19.
“Those who respond to call for unity and cooperation must be encouraged and commended instead of being harassed by subjecting them to a mindless government intrusion that smacks of partisan action,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a press statement.
Panelo said Duterte’s appeal for unity amid the health crisis in the country was sincere.
He believed that the “bayanihan” or teamwork spirit of every Filipino can make the country “survive and prevail over this scourge of a disease.“
“His (Duterte) repeated calls for everybody, regardless of political beliefs to cooperate in the government’s efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus, is not a meaningless appeal,” he said.
In a public addressed aired on state-run PTV-4 on Friday, Duterte lauded Robredo for helping the medical workers in the country amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Duterte also announced his decision to fire Presidential Anti-Corruption Commissioner Manuelito Luna for urging the National Bureau of Investigation to investigate Robredo who was allegedly competing with the government’s efforts to contain Covid-19.
Panelo said Luna’s dismissal from service only proves that Duterte would not tolerate “abusive, arrogant, and incompetent” workers in the government.
“The firing of PACC Commissioner Manuelito Luna by (Duterte) demonstrates the President’s intolerance to abusive, arrogant and incompetent government officials, apart from the corrupt ones, as well as consistent with his decisive action against errant public servants,” he said.
Confirmed Covid-19 cases in the Philippines rose to 3,094, as of Saturday.
Duterte, through Republic Act 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, was given the authority to exercise additional powers to stop the further transmission of Covid-19 in the country. (PNA)