Duterte says not enough gov't funds in battle vs COVID-19


Posted at Apr 06 2020 11:53 PM

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said the Philippines does not have enough funds to respond to the crisis brought by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

In a televised speech, Duterte said the P275 billion funds the government alloted for COVID-19 response will not last long.

"I would like to be honest. The P100 billion per month, P300 bilion 'yun...Ang P100 billion budget or P270 billion for two months as their estimate, hindi talaga tatagal 'yan," he said.

He also said the government is not earning anything due to the lockdown.

"Your money, money ko, money ng mga sino ang may deposito sa bangko, 'pag ginastos ko 'yan, mauubos talaga 'yan. Wala namang kita eh, puro bigay na lang," he added.

Duterte, likewise, appealed to those who have more in life to share what they have with the less fortunate.

"To my brothers and sisters, especially those who have more in life baka makatulong kayo sa pag-extend ng financial assistance. Kung hindi mo masyado kailangan at alam mo na may nagugutom, ibigay mo na lang para hanggang maubos ang, may border 'yan eh. Tulong mo hanggang diyan. Ang gobyerno ganyan eh," he said.

Duterte on March 30 announced a P200-billion social amelioration program to provide cash aid to poor families as daily wage earners were displaced by the lockdown in Luzon, where over 50 million people were told to stay at home to prevent the further spread of the disease.

The enhanced community quarantine, which took effect on March 17, entailed the unprecedented suspension of school, public transport, and work -- except for frontliners -- in Luzon for a month.

Government has yet to decide whether to lift the quarantine as scheduled on April 12 or extend the lockdown, as some officials have suggested.

On Monday night, Duterte said he was "inclined to extend" the lockdown until April 30.

As of Monday, the Philippines had 3,660 cases of COVID-19, with 73 recoveries and 163 deaths.