MANILA — President Duterte has brushed aside ouster calls against him that are allegedly based on fake news even as he urged his critics for them to instead focus on how they help the government stem the spread of the coronavirus.
“My only appeal, don’t believe in fake news. If you go for fake news, you will be cursed here everyday,” the President said in a taped address televised late Friday night over PTV4.
As usual, calls for Duterte’s removal from office were channeled through social media’s Twitter, Facebook and YouTube accounts as his administration scrambles for ways to arrest the spread of the virus.
There is also the growing clamor from the business community to lift the enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila and Luzon.
But Duterte stressed in his televised address that there is no need to force him out of office, as he is ready to step down if necessary to prevent bloodshed.
“This ‘oust Duterte’ (expletive). You know, let’s be frank – the military, the police and you are listening. If the chiefs of the Army, Navy, Air Force and the police, if they say, if they go here and tell me ‘Duterte, step down now,’” he said.
“No need for ‘oust, oust Duterte.’ After all, the military and the police are in charge. If they don’t like something, the truth is you can’t do anything about it. And if they do wish for something, you can’t stop them either,” Duterte stressed.
The rally urban poor organization Kadamay in Quezon City that led to mass arrests was believed to have been instigated by left-leaning groups in cooperation with some members of the opposition to discredit the government’s efforts at addressing their basic needs.
Duterte said the government already gave DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista, a former military official the green light to distribute the P200-billion social amelioration package to about 18 million low income households.
As this developed, Duterte also called on his critics to stop politicking and just help ease the impact of the crisis, especially on ordinary people.
He lambasted critics especially human rights lawyer Chel Diokno, whom he accused of discrediting his administration instead of pitching in to help the people.
As cases of COVID-19 continue to rise, the President said it is but important for people to cooperate with the government and follow closely quarantine measures.
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases is the lead agency of the government in the fight against the virus.
It lays down the policies and the guidelines for the national government’s strategy against COVID-19.
Meanwhile, the National Action Plan team is composed of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana as chairman and presidential peace adviser Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. as chief implementor.
Medical experts around the world are still in the process of finding a vaccine for COVID-19.
At present, the country now has 3,018 confirmed cases of the virus. (iamigo/sovereignph.com)