'Huwag matigas ang ulo': Duterte tells Filipinos to stay at home amid COVID-19 crisis

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 24 2020 11:53 PM

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte once again called on Filipinos to stay at home after cases of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the Philippines rose past 500 on Tuesday.

"I now call on every Filipino to participate in this war by following the guidelines set by the national government and your local officials. Nothing is more important [now] than your cooperation," Duterte said in a national address. 

"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 added.

Duterte said supplies of food, water and other necessities will be provided for families severely affected by the "enhanced community quarantine" in Luzon.

"Financial assistance will also be extended especially to those in the margins and the vulnerable groups. Halos lahat ho makatanggap (Almost everyone will be able to receive)," he said.

"Gagawin namin ang lahat (We will do everthing). Hindi namin kayo pababayaan (We won't abandon you)."

The President earlier placed entire Luzon under the enhanced quarantine to prevent the spread of the disease. 

The measure means strict home confinement in all households, suspension of public transport, regulation of provision for food and essential health services, and heightened presence of uniformed personnel to enforce isolation procedures.

There were exemptions for workers and personnel in food services, military, police, media, business processing outsourcing (BPO), and especially health institutions.

Curfews were also imposed by local government units (LGUs) for the month-long Luzon lockdown. Some LGUs also set window hours for grocery shopping while some have opted for 24-hour curfews to force the public to stay in their homes.

However, others, especially low-income workers in non-essential sectors deemed by government, stressed they earn weekly and cannot buy necessities for their family without work.

As of Tuesday, the Philippines has recorded 552 cases of COVID-19, with 35 deaths and 20 recoveries, according to the Department of Health.--with a report from Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News