MANILA – Malacañang on Wednesday expressed hope that the country would be able to avoid another outbreak of life-threatening diseases, such as mosquito-borne dengue, as it continues to grapple against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this remark after the Department of Health (DOH) warned that the start of the rainy season could lead to a rise in dengue cases.

“Sana nga po huwag mangyari. Dahil ayaw nga natin na mas marami pa ang ating kababayan na magkasakit (I hope it doesn’t happen because we don’t want more of our citizens to getting sick),” Roque said in an interview over PTV-4.

Roque explained that while the government is looking to source additional funds for Covid-19 response, it would be a big help if they could avoid further spending and borrowing from multilateral lenders.

“Ang issue naman can we afford? E sabi ng Presidente, hindi na natin kaya, kaya nga nag-uutang na tayo. Pero sana, huwag nating magastos ‘yung ating inutang, para hindi na tayo kinakailangang magbayad ng interes (The issue is can we afford? The President said we cannot, that’s why we’re borrowing money. But I hope, we won’t have to spend what we borrowed so we won’t have to pay interest),” he said.

Data from the Department of Health (DOH) showed that a total of 50,169 dengue cases were recorded from Jan. 1 to May 30, which is 46 percent lower than the 92,808 cases recorded during the same period last year.

The number of deaths due to dengue in the same period this year is 173 compared to 452 last year.

Last month, Duterte also urged parents to get their children vaccinated for 25 debilitating or life-threatening diseases, such as tetanus and diphtheria.

“Mayroon pang iba sa probinsya na ayaw ipabakuna ’yung ang mga anak ninyo. Kindly, lahat kayong mga nanay, pati tatay, see to it that your children are vaccinated (There are those in the provinces who still do not want to get their kids immunized. To all mothers and fathers, kindly see to it that your children are vaccinated),” he said in a public address on May 19.

Earlier, Roque assured that the national government is ready to implement an immunization plan should a Covid-19 vaccine roll out in the future.

He explained that a plan has been in place, not just for existing vaccines but also in anticipation of a vaccine to prevent Covid-19 infection.

Currently, there is no approved treatment or vaccine for Covid-19. However, there are ongoing clinical trials to investigate the safety and efficacy of new and existing drugs, such as anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-malarial agents, in the treatment of patients. (PNA)