Duterte removes mask, jokes with Olympians: 'If I die, it's because of you'


Posted at Aug 23 2021 10:16 PM

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Video courtesy of PTV 

President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday removed his face mask against the coronavirus at a public event and told Filipino athletes in jest, "If I die, it's because of you." 

Duterte led the awarding of government incentives to athletes who brought home the Philippines' best Olympic finish, including a gold medal at Tokyo 2020, a silver, and a bronze. 

The President said he removed his mask ahead of his speech "because I could not express myself" if he wore one. 

"Ako sumusugal ako nang wala," he told athletes. "Aanyway, kung mamatay ako, dahil sa inyo, ngayong hapon na ito. Kayo ang nagdamay sa akin."

(I gamble without one. Anyway, if I die, it's because of you, this afternoon. You included me.)

But he also athletes, "With the pandemic spreading like a wildfire in the country and everybody taking precautions, it would not be a discourteous act to wash your hands even in front of the person that you have shook hands." 

The Philippines earlier Monday reported a record 18,332 new COVID-19 infections and acknowledged community transmission of the highly contagious Delta variant in Metro Manila.