Video courtesy of PTV
President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday denied shortcomings in the government's management of the COVID-19 crisis, as the Philippines continues to struggle containing a surge in coronavirus infections.
Duterte said he formed a task force to focus on the pandemic "within 48 hours" of the World Health Organization's advisory at the start of the pandemic.
The country's over year-long lockdown was "what the medical people were saying," he added.
"I'd like to just disabuse the mind of nagkulang tayo. Wala na kayong tiningnan kundi ‘yung kagaguhan n’yo. Hindi tayo nagkulang," he said in a pre-recorded speech.
(I'd just like to disabuse the mind of the notion that we fell short. You see nothing but your own foolishness. We did not come up short.)
Duterte said his aides are all "bright", following the calls of some for the COVID-19 task force's abolition.
"Baka sabihin n'yo wala naman talagang solusyon ito. Meron po: itong kaharap n’yo, ‘wag na ako, palaos na ako," he said.
"Harap ka sa panel ‘yan… Puro bright ‘yan, puro valedictorian. Alam nila kung anong gawin nila. ‘Wag kayong mag-alala, we chose the right people to run the government."
(You might say that this has no solution. It has: this panel before me, don't include me. I'm almost done. Face that panel. They're all bright, all valedictorians. They know what to do. Do not worry.)
The country has logged a total of 904,285 coronavirus infections, of which 183,527 or 20.3 percent were active cases as of Thursday, the Department of Health (DOH) said in its latest bulletin
The agency also reported 148 new COVID-related deaths, pushing the country's coronavirus death toll to 15,594.
“This will go, I think, before it gets better, we’ll have to go through the worst of times. Do not be afraid, government is working. Government is busy doing everything,” said Duterte.