Roque: Gov’t Duty-Bound To Protect Even Critics From COVID-19

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Malacañang on Thursday appealed to the militant rallyists to strictly follow health and safety protocols, saying the government has obligation to protect even its critics from the deadly coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

“Well, alam ninyo po ang karapatan ng malayang pananalita ay garantiyado po ng ating Saligang Batas. Gayun pa man, ang aking pakiusap lang po, panahon po ng Covid at kahit kayo po ay lumalaban at kalaban ng gobyerno, pinangangalagaan po namin ang inyong kalusugan (you know, right to free speech is guaranteed by our Constitution. Nevertheless, my appeal is we are in the time of Covid and though you fight the government, we still protect your health),” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a virtual Palace press briefing.

Roque, also spokesperson of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), appealed to the militant groups to observe government protocol which limits gatherings to only 10 people.

Despite inclement weather, around 200 protesters trooped to Mendiola Street near Malacañang Palace to join the protest rally they called “Day of Defiance” on Wednesday, according to the police.

“Maski kayo po ay walang ginawa kung hindi labanan ang gobyerno, Pilipino pa rin po kayo at may obligasyon pa rin kaming isalba kayo kung kayo’y magkakasakit. Make it easier for everyone po, huwag pong magtipun-tipon (Even you are doing nothing but fight the government, still you are Filipinos and we have obligation to protect you if you get sick. Make it easier for everyone, avoid gatherings),” Roque appealed.

The alleged “militarist” response of the government against the pandemic was among the issues raised by the rallyists.

Roque, however, said a latest Pulse Asia survey showed that 92 percent of Filipinos believed that President Rodrigo Duterte “has done well” in terms of preventing the spread of Covid-19 in the country.

He noted that only 3 percent disapproved and the “rallyists are part of them”.

“Pilipino pa rin po kayo, obligasyon pa rin naming itaguyod ang inyong kalusugan, huwag pong magtipun-tipon. Ayaw namin kayong ma-Covid (You’re still Filipinos, it’s our obligation to make you healthy, don’t gather. We don’t want you to get infected by Covid),” he added.

The same Pulse Asia survey released on October 3, showed that 8 of 10 Filipinos have “positive opinion” on the government’s efforts to address the health crisis.

A separate survey released by Social Weather Station on October 18 also showed that 71 percent of the Filipinos said the government’s response against Covid-19 pandemic is “adequate”. Only 22 percent answered “inadequate” while 6 percent were “undecided”. (PNA)

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