MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has urged local government officials to extend help to coronavirus disease (Covid-19) patients by expediting their hospitalization without worrying about expenses.
In a public address late Thursday night, Duterte asked them to assist Covid-19 patients, regardless of nationality, assuring that he would shoulder the costs of their hospitalization.
“I would like to convey to the mayor: help anyone. Not — not even Filipinos, foreigners, who are in your place and who go to you or who go to the municipal building, the seat of governance of your municipality to seek help,” he said.
He told them to ensure that Covid-19 patients are given immediate treatment saying he would pay for their bills.
“You should expedite the hospitalization. Tulungan ninyo ‘yung mga Pilipino tutal (Help Filipinos since) I will pay. I will pay for the expenses. Walang problema ‘yan (That’s not a problem),” he said.
He also warned them of rejecting patients who sought admission.
“That is really an order of the national government to the local governments. Help, do not deny, and you must expedite the hospitalization until he is cured. No problem about payment. I will pay. Just bill me and I will pay,” he said.
Local government officials, he said, should just sign any document and he would pay the hospitalization bills of anyone who finds themselves in a “strange place” and has “nowhere to go.”
“I want to make it clear that as much as possible the ordinary citizen, the Filipino, does not have to spend money. If he is sick, he can seek hospitalization and charge everything to government. Now, if he happens to be in that place and he cannot move out and maybe he’s not welcome to the place, he can stay where — where he finds himself,” he said.
Duterte also reiterated his call for local government units (LGUs) to accept returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) noting that “there’s no reason” them not to accept OFWs “with open arms” especially if they tested negative for the virus.
If local government officials had doubts about OFWs’ test results, they could subject OFWs to another round of quarantine.
Over 16,000 overseas OFWs in various quarantine facilities in Metro Manila have been sent home as of May 27, government data showed.
To accommodate a new batch of repatriates expected to arrive this May and June, the national government is expediting the processing and release of Covid-19 test results of OFWs.
Around 300,000 OFWs are expected to return to the country this year, authorities said. (PNA)