MANILA- President Rodrigo Duterte said Friday he hopes that God will be with the Filipino nation as it struggles to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
The 75-year-old Duterte, who has been quarantined in Malacañang for more than a month, admitted that he is having a "hard time" leading the country's fight.
"I hope that God will be with us. May sarili akong Diyos na doon ako nakatutok to help me because I am having a hard time carrying the load of the nation," he said in a televised address.
Duterte made the remark as he expanded the lockdown from Luzon to other parts of the country until May 15. This means millions will need to stay home for 2 more weeks to contain the spread of COVID-19.
The pandemic, the President said, would not be fully quelled unless a vaccine against it is discovered.
"COVID equals vaccine. Period," the 75-year-old leader said.
So far, the world has yet to find a cure or vaccine for the rapidly spreading COVID-19 but there are drugs being tested worldwide as possible treatment for the respiratory disease.
The Philippine leader even offered a P50 million reward for the discovery of a vaccine against the disease.
Duterte appealed to the public to heed government policies to "embolden" health workers and local scientists leading the fight against the pandemic.
"We're just waiting for the right time. Tiisin lang muna natin. Ako nakikiusap sa inyo para lang sa bayan because we are trying to limit the contamination," he said.