PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte wanted Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo to set aside politics and instead help the government in its fight against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), Malacañang said on Wednesday.
“I guess the President is saying, the Vice President is welcome to help. He recognizes this, that she has been helping as far as providing assistance to our people [is] concerned. But right now, set aside politics and continue with helping the people in these very trying times,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in an interview with CNN Philippines’ The Source.
Duterte, in a taped public address aired on Tuesday, appealed to Robredo to avoid making the situation worse in the country by issuing statements that could incite hatred against the government.
Duterte’s statement came after Robredo on Monday said it appears that the country has “no leader” amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Any statement that is against the efforts to stop the COVID-19 crisis would only “destroy the government,” Duterte said.
Roque agreed with Duterte, noting that members of the opposition, including Robredo, should instead support the government to ensure the successful fight against Covid-19.
“Now is not the time for politicking. Now is the time to focus on [Covid-19],” he said.
Health and quarantine protocols in the country have been further relaxed this month to allow the gradual reopening of the economy, a move that is seen to help the country recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
General community quarantine (GCQ), third to the most stringent community quarantine imposed by the government to contain the virus, has been imposed in Metro Manila and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Nueva Ecija, and Batangas until August 31.
The cities of Iloilo, Cebu, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, and Talisay, as well as the municipalities of Minglanilla and Consolacion in Cebu province, have also been placed under GCQ.
Modified GCQ has been implemented in the rest of the country.
Roque said “new approaches” are being considered to arrest the spread of Covid-19 in the country.
“All ideas that could be considered in alleviating the condition of our country while the pandemic is ongoing has been considered. And we are considering even new approaches as we study best examples that we have worldwide,” he said. PNA