MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte's administration is "in control" of the COVID-19 situation in the Philippines, Malacañang assured Filipinos Monday, following criticism of the government's response.
The government took the right steps in addressing the pandemic that has claimed over 1,000 lives in the country, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said.
"Tama ba ang mga hakbang na ginawa ng ating gobyerno? Ang sagot po namin – opo," he said in a Palace press briefing.
(Did the government take the right steps? Yes.)
"Hindi po tayo perpekto, siguro po talaga we could have done better. Pero narito na po tayo and one thing I can assure you, the President did the very best that he can and we are in control of the situation," he added.
(We're not perfect, maybe we could have done better.)
Opposition leader Vice President Leni Robredo criticized last week the government's handling of the crisis, saying the Philippines failed to "act urgently" at the start of the pandemic and was still "catching up" with the response of other countries despite imposing one of the longest lockdowns in the world.
Roque, however, said the country was able to evade over 3 million infections because it took the right steps to address the pandemic.
"Naiwasan po ang 3.6 million cases ng COVID. Ang ating ginagawa po ngayon ay sinisiguro natin na habang wala pa pong bakuna eh mapapabagal natin iyong pagkalat ng sakit dahil kinakailangan eh bigyan natin ng medical assistance ang ating mga kababayan kapag sila po ay nagkasakit," he said.
(We avoided 3.6 million infections. What we're doing now is we're making sure that while there is no vaccine yet, we can slow the transmission of the virus because of our critical care capacity.)
"In terms of positivity rate, in terms of case doubling rate, in case of mortality rate - we are winning po...We have limited the cases to 35,000 instead of what could have been at least 3 million cases," he added.
As of June 28, the Philippines had 35,455 COVID-19 confirmed cases. This includes 1,244 deaths and 9,686 recoveries.
Prevailing community quarantine measures are set to expire on Tuesday, the same day that President Duterte is expected to announce possible changes in quarantine classifications.
Some experts earlier lamented what they said was the government's "militaristic approach" in response to the pandemic.