Duterte to Robredo: ‘Please don’t add fuel to the fire’

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday advised Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo to avoid making the situation in the country worse amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

“Please do not add fuel to the fire. You will just destroy the government,” Duterte told Robredo in his taped public address aired on state-run PTV-4 on Tuesday morning.

Duterte gave the advice, as he reacted to Robredo’s claim that the Philippines seems to have “no leader” as it continues to grapple with the impacts of the health crisis.

Robredo, in a video posted on her official Facebook page on Monday, said it appears that “no one is at the helm, no direction, no clear horizon as to when and how this pandemic will be addressed”.

She added that the government, after giving a “bit of assistance,” seems to have left Filipinos to fend for themselves, “locked in [their] homes, living in fear”.

Robredo, in her speech, said in Filipino: “As if we should shoulder the blame of infections and death, for being too undisciplined, as we have been called. As if we have nothing to expect from our leaders – or there are no leaders at all. As if we have been left to fend for ourselves.”

She then called on her fellow Filipinos to “expect and demand more” from the country’s leaders.

Duterte lamented that Robredo tends to incite hatred against the government.

At ito namang kay Leni, in her ending statement, whether kung hindi ko raw gawin, itong gobyerno, babawiin ng tao (Leni, in her ending statement, said the people will make a way if the government fails to act),” he said.

Duterte said it was “baseless” for Robredo to claim that the government is doing nothing to defeat Covid-19.

“Well sa panahon nitong pandemic, medyo desperado ang mga tao, tapos dagdagan ninyo ng mga ganoon na wala naman kayong base (In this time of the pandemic, people are desperate, and you are issuing a baseless statement),” he said.

Duterte told Robredo that destabilizing the government amid the Covid-19 crisis would not be good for the country.

Huwag nyong sirain ang gobyerno kasi masisira ang tao. Kapag nasisira ang gobyerno, lulutang tayong lahat (Do not undermine the government because you also undermine the people. We will only suffer when you undermine the government),” he said.

As of Monday, the Philippines has logged a total of 194, 252 confirmed Covid-19 cases, with 132,042 recoveries and 3,010 fatalities.

Duterte reassured the public that the government is exhausting all efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the country.

“We will also continue to respond to the arising challenges in our pandemic, recalibrating our strategies, if we must, based on science and data,” he said.

Duterte earlier decided to further ease the quarantine restrictions in the country this month to allow more businesses to reopen to ensure the speedy recovery of the economy amid the pandemic. (PNA)