MANILA – Health Secretary Francisco Duque III retracted his earlier pronouncement that the country’s coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) infection curve has “flattened” since April, not because he was scolded but because he realized he made a mistake, Malacañang said Thursday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the remark after Duque took back his earlier statement about the curve being flattened, this time saying it was “bent.”
Roque disclosed that Duque even called him personally and admitted his mistake.
“Wala pong pagsabon na nangyari at ako naman nang matapos mangyari ‘yan tumawag kaagad sa ’kin si Secretary Duque at sinabi nga niya na parang mali yung salitang nagamit niya. Sabi ko korekin lang natin (There was no scolding that took place, and when it happened, Secretary Duque called me immediately, telling me he used the wrong word. I said let’s just correct it),” he said in a virtual Palace briefing.
Roque said mistakes happen to even the best of media workers.
“Sino ba naman sa media ang nagsasabing di sila nagkakamali? So kinorek lang (What media worker doesn’t make mistakes? So it was corrected),” he said.
In a series of tweets after making the controversial remark, Duque clarified the statement he made, saying the country’s case doubling time in April passed the three-day doubling time mark.
Come July 15, he said the doubling time is eight days, which is past the seven-day doubling mark.
“This means we bent the curve in April after the March ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) but we are seeing an increase in cases due to the expanded testing capacity and community transmission as we allow (the) movement of people,” Duque said.
Several netizens criticized Duque’s remark, questioning his credentials as health chief.
Last May, Duque earned public ire for claiming the country was experiencing a second wave of Covid-19 infections, which he later took back.
Cabinet officials, including Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, refuted Duque’s claim.
However, Roque maintained that the country is still on its first wave of infections but noted that Duque’s interpretation of “waves” differed from that of other experts.
Senators and other sectors have also called for Duque’s resignation over his handling of the Covid-19 health crisis and the alleged overpriced medical supplies and equipment. (PNA)