MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday night urged the public to skip Christmas festivities this year for the safety of everyone amid the prevailing coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
In a taped public address, Duterte appealed to Filipinos to sacrifice holiday traditions this year to avoid spreading or catching the disease.
“You had parties every Christmas. Would you be kind enough just to skip the festivities? Iwasan na muna ninyo (Avoid them first). You avoid it because it is for your own good and for the good of the community and eventually for the good of the country,” he said.
He acknowledged how Filipinos loved hosting get-togethers but noted that they have had many occasions to celebrate in the past.
“Ngayon pa lang (As early as now), we are saying sorry that there will be a curtailment of so many things that you have been used to during Christmas time. Look at it this way, all of the Christmas[es] of your lifetime ngayon lang naman ito isang beses hinihingi ng gobyerno para sa iyo. Ang ano dito, para sa iyo, hindi para sa gobyerno (it’s only now that the government is asking this from you. And this is for you, not for the government),” he said.
Duterte said the government’s mandate is to ensure that all Filipinos are safe and healthy.
“You have had so many Christmas blowouts and parties. This is one Christmas, the only Christmas maybe that government will interfere in your private affairs. You might think that this is too much, ‘government does not control us’, of course we cannot control you individually if what you do is what you want, the problem is we are preventing you from getting other people sick,” he said.
He reminded that prevention is the best defense against Covid-19.
“It is only you who can do it but it is not a 100 percent guarantee that if you follow all of this you will not get Covid, but your chances of avoiding the contamination would be greater. The odds would be in your favor. Kasi kung protektado ka (because if you’re protected) and you follow the social distancing lahat na, nasa iyo ‘yan (it’s within your control). Nobody can do it for you. You and you alone will be responsible for your safety and health,” he said.
Duterte, meanwhile, lauded health front-liners in the fight against Covid-19 and asked them to continue being dedicated in their jobs.
“For the workers, lalo na ang (especially) front-liners, the doctors and the nurses who have to face the sick people, we salute you many times and please continue to do so and may God bless you,” he said.
Last month, Duterte renewed his call to strictly follow minimum health protocols to prevent a post-Christmas holiday surge of Covid-19 cases.
As of Monday, the Department of Health (DOH) said the country has 24,125 active Covid-19 cases with 408,702 recoveries and 8,572 deaths. (PNA)