PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte once again called on Filipinos to stay at home after cases of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the Philippines rose past 500 on Tuesday.
"I now call on every Filipino to participate in this war by following the guidelines set by the national government and your local officials. Nothing is more important [now] than your cooperation," Duterte said in a national address.
"I repeat: Stay at home. Huwag matigas ang ulo (Don't be stubborn). The outcome of this war depends largely on you as well," he added.
Duterte said supplies of food, water and other necessities will be provided for families severely affected by the "enhanced community quarantine" in Luzon.
"Financial assistance will also be extended especially to those in the margins and the vulnerable groups. Halos lahat ho makatanggap (Almost everyone will be able to receive)," he said.
"Gagawin namin ang lahat (We will do everthing). Hindi namin kayo pababayaan (We won't abandon you)."
The President earlier placed entire Luzon under the enhanced quarantine to prevent the spread of the disease.
The measure means strict home confinement in all households, suspension of public transport, regulation of provision for food and essential health services, and heightened presence of uniformed personnel to enforce isolation procedures.
There were exemptions for workers and personnel in food services, military, police, media, business processing outsourcing (BPO), and especially health institutions.
Curfews were also imposed by local government units (LGUs) for the month-long Luzon lockdown. Some LGUs also set window hours for grocery shopping while some have opted for 24-hour curfews to force the public to stay in their homes.
However, others, especially low-income workers in non-essential sectors deemed by government, stressed they earn weekly and cannot buy necessities for their family without work.
As of Tuesday, the Philippines has recorded 552 cases of COVID-19, with 35 deaths and 20 recoveries, according to the Department of Health
Duterte also expressed his gratitude to all frontliners who are still working to provide essential services as the country fights the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Duterte, in a video message, thanked all the health care workers in the country.
"First, let me reiterate my sincerest gratitude to all our courageous frontliners in this war, especially our healthcare workers—our doctors, nurses, medical technologists, and other allied health professionals," he said.
"Maraming-maraming salamat. Asahan niyo ang suporta ng inyong gobyerno," Duterte added.
He also expressed his sadness over the death of some of the medical frontliners who have passed on while performing their duty.
"I am saddened by the news that the virus has claimed the lives of our doctors along the way. Lahat po sila ay bayani and not only that, talagang bumilib ako. Bihira akong sumasaludo ng tao pero ‘pag mga doktor natin, mga health workers na nadisgrasya, talagang saludo ako sa inyo. Wala na kayo dito sa mundong ito pero ganun na lang ang pagtingin ko sa inyo," Duterte said.
The President, likewise, thanked government officials and staff who are working hard to help manage the health emergency.
"To the able officials and staff of the Inter-agency Task Force on Emerging and Infectious Diseases, thank you for staying on top of this situation," Duterte said.
"To the brave men and women of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police, thank you as well for ensuring peace and order in these trying times," he added.
Duterte extended his gratitude to all the other frontliners, including those in the private sector, for continuing to provide other essential services and products.
"I also thank the rest of the frontliners who ensure that basic services are provided to our people, from those manning various government agencies, groceries, banks, food establishments, and delivery services, among others. Maraming, maraming salamat po," he said.
"To the gracious members of the private sector who are foregoing profit to alleviate the suffering of our people; to the valiant volunteers who are bravely supplementing our frontliners; [and] to the noble civil society organizations who are working tirelessly in calling for donations and performing charity work— Thank you very much for your kindness, compassion and generosity," Duterte added.
Duterte earlier placed the entire Philippines under a state of public health emergency and later a state of calamity to provide the government with enough leeway to tap into emergency funds for response to the pandemic.