'Huwag kayong matakot': Duterte urges cooperation as coronavirus cases soar past 500
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'Huwag kayong matakot': Duterte urges cooperation as coronavirus cases soar past 500

Hospital front liners that consist of a nurse and security guards wear personal protective equipments as they man the entrance of the emergency room in the Gat Andres Bonifacio Memorial Medical Center in Tondo, Manila on March 24, 2020. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday night told the Filipino people not to be afraid after the country's coronavirus cases surged past 500, a week after declaring a public health emergency and sealing off Luzon island to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

"Huwag kayong matakot. Nandito ‘yong gobyerno ninyo para kayo pagsilbihan at totoong pagsilbihan," he said in an address to the nation.

(Don't be afraid. The government is here to serve you.)

The President, who has sought additional powers from Congress to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, said the government would provide basic essentials to the public.

Financial aid will also be provided, especially for the marginalized and vulnerable groups, he added.

"Halos lahat ho makatanggap. Eh hindi naman lahat, ‘yong kagaya ni Bong Go, hindi naman niya tanggapin ‘yan. Gagawin namin ang lahat. Hindi namin kayo pababayaan," he said.

(Almost everyone will receive [assistance]. But not everyone, like [Sen.] Bong Go, he will not accept it. We will do everything. We will not abandon you.)

As the transmission of the novel coronavirus is showing no signs of tapering off, Duterte urged the public to "participate in this war by following the guidelines set by the national government and your local officials."

"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 said.

With more than two weeks to go until the enhanced community quarantine ends for 57 million people, Duterte sees a silver lining.

"Yes, things will not be easy. [But] we Filipinos are tough. Mas malakas ang Pilipino sa anumang hamon (The Filipino people is stronger than any adversity). Now, we all must do what we can and must. Para sa ating bayan. (For our nation)," he said.

"I look forward to the day that we Filipinos can finally claim victory [in] this war and emerge as a stronger and more united Filipinos and Philippines," he added.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the Philippines has recorded 552 COVID-19 cases, with 35 fatalities and 20 recoveries.