Citizens urged to help Duterte fight COVID-19

Martin Romualdez

HOUSE Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez on Wednesday appealed to Filipinos to help President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte curb the spread of coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) by strictly complying with the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon. 

“As Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, I fully support the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte to place Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon under enhanced community quarantine.

Though a bitter pill to swallow, the order is needed as part of containment and mitigation efforts in our fight for survival as a nation,” said Romualdez, the chairman of the House Committee on Rules.

Romualdez said President Duterte is doing everything to address the concerns of affected workers in “keeping our families safe at all cost.”

“I enjoin our people to set aside politics in the meantime and unite for once as we seek long-lasting solutions to stop the spread of the dreaded virus in our communities,” said Romualdez.

“Rest assured that your Representatives in Congress are in close coordination with the Executive Department in trying to find ways on how to minimize the economic impact and social cost of our lockdown scenario,” said Romualdez.

In supporting Romualdez’s call, ACT-CIS party-list Rep. Niña Taduran warned that insisting on going out despite the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon could blow up the number of infected people just like what happened in Italy.

“Cooperation is the key to flatten the curve as Covid-19 cases increase in the country,” said Taduran.

“Don’t underestimate the situation. If you look at the progression of the virus in Italy and all other countries, you can see that the infection is exponential. In a matter of days, cases have doubled. In just one day in Italy, total deaths jumped from 1,441 to 1,809 or a 25% increase,” warned Taduran. 

Ang Probinsiyano party-list Rep. Alfred Delos Santos has appealed to the public to disclose to hospitals their travel and medical history, especially if they are under investigation for suspected COVID-19 virus, in order to protect frontline health workers from contracting the deadly disease and help stop its spread.

Delos Santos issued the statement in the wake of reports that some persons under investigation (PUIs), who have visited countries with known COVID-19 cases, deliberately did not disclose vital information that would help stop the transmission of the virus particularly to medical practitioners.

“Sa panahong ito kailangan natin ang inyong buong kooperasyon upang hindi mahawa ang kapwa pasyente at ang ating mga frontline health workers,” said Delos Santos.  “Ibigay sana nila ang lahat ng mahahalagang impormasyon—medical history, travel history o mga sintomas—upang maayos na matugunan ang kanilang karamdaman at kalusugan.”

In order to protect medical health workers in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, Delos Santos has filed a bill imposing penalties on any person who would be found to have deliberately withheld vital information related to any disease which is a subject of a public health emergency, outbreak or considered pandemic by the Department of Health.

“Our health professionals deserve not only our salute, but also our protection,” Delos Santos pointed out as he expressed gratitude to the members of the medical community for their tireless efforts and sacrifices to ensure that patients are being attended to and treated at the risk of contracting the disease themselves.

Under proposal of the partylist lawmaker, non-disclosure of information vital to treatment of a disease would mean a penalty of up to P500,000 plus community service equivalent to 150 hours.

The bill, however, provides a stiffer penalty of P1,000,000 and up to 200 hours of community service if the person deliberately withheld important information for a disease that resulted in a transmission to the attending health worker or other patients within the same facility where the offender is seeking treatment

Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Mike Defensor, who is vice chairman of the House Committee on Health, urged the DOH to explain the higher coronavirus disease-19 (Covid-19) mortality rate in the country.

“We still have small numbers of infection cases and deaths, but a quick glance at the data would show that in terms of percentage, there are more Filipinos than there are Thais, Indonesians or Indians dying of this disease,” said Defensor, who chairs the House Committee on Public Accounts.

Quezon City Rep. Precious Castelo appealed to airline, shipping and other transportation companies to open their offices for rebooking or cancellation of tickets or trips of people affected by the enhanced community quarantine of Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon.

Castelo made the appeal after receiving complaints from several constituents that they went to the Philippine Airlines (PAL) office at Eton Centris mall at the corner of Quezon Avenue and EDSA early Monday morning only to find out that it was closed without the public being informed beforehand.

Valenzuela City Rep. Wes Gatchalian, the chairman of the House Committee on Trade and Industry, called on big businesses and companies to practice corporate social responsibility and help Filipinos affected by the coronavirus crisis in any way they can to contain the spread of the deadly virus.

“These companies have the whole gamut of resources under them and they are just waiting to be tapped for assistance,” said


“A sector that requires the most immediate provisions are our healthcare workers, healthcare institutions, and other necessary frontliners like the policemen at checkpoints who are ill-equipped, due maybe to the sudden increase of cases and the new guidelines to address the demands of the health emergency,” he stressed, noting that the national health emergency “is an opportune time to seek the support of big companies and facilitate a fruitful collaboration with them,” Gatchalian explained.

Ang Probinsyano party-list Rep. Ronnie Ong said the Interagency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (ITFEID) should set up a coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) Protocol and Monitoring Helpdesk and Testing Centers in all barangays nationwide.

"I don't want to sound too pessimistic but until after we can actually find a cure to this COVID-19 virus, the worst is not over for us despite all the measures that are put in place. We have to prepare for a long and hard battle to defeat this disease and our main battleground will be our communities, specifically our barangays," said Ong.

House Deputy Minority leader and Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate on Tuesday said the P2 billion Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) social protection program in the fight against coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) is obviously not enough to compensate workers displaced by the lockdown."

'It is quite repulsive that workers under the DOLE amelioration program only gets a measly P2B while more than half of the P27 billion government economic package to combat CoViD 19 or P14 billion to be exact, will just go to tourism projects and programs," said Zarate.

"Based on government data, out of the 5,271,829 employed and living in NCR, 386,697 (7.34%) are government workers. Of this, 335,802 (86.83%) are permanent and 50,895 (13.16%) are short term. Now, P2B ÷ 5.3M workers only translates to a measly sum of P377.35! Clearly this is not enough for anyone to survive for a month, let alone if they have families," said Zarate.