Filipinos should refrain from challenging the authorities despite the uncertainty brought about by the prolonged lockdown meant to contain the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, President Rodrigo Duterte said Wednesday night.
READ: Government eyes forced quarantine
"Do not challenge the government. You will lose for sure," Duterte said in a nationally-televised address.
The President revealed that he has delegated to the Department of Social Welfare and Development and Secretary Rolando Bautista the task of distributing financial assistance and food during the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon and other parts of the country.
He removed the task of doling out aid from “politicians” because the DSWD had its own distribution network.
“Do not entertain doubts about dishonesty and corruption, now is not the time for it,” Duterte said, echoing a message from two nights before.
He stressed that rice and other relief goods would get to their intended recipients as the government was making moves “to sustain us but only if there is order in the society.”
“(Those who are) repacking, everybody else connected with the exercise of preparing the food and money, do not skim from it. I will catch you and I will detain you,” the President said.
He also blasted people attacking health workers and other frontliners in the battle against COVID-19, particularly those who were caught throwing chemicals at them, as these medical professionals “would die first before the COVID-19 patients (they are treating).”
Duterte ordered the police to go around and look for these people assaulting doctors, nurses and hospital aides, while assuring frontliners: “Do not worry, I will support and defend you.”
He blasted leftist groups and protesters for complaining about the lack of government aid when his administration was “trying to manage magkaroon equally ng pera at pagkain” (have an equal portion of money and food) across the country.
“You in the Left, you are not the government. You cannot be a part of what we are trying to do,” he said.
Duterte warned that if they caused dissent and riots, “I will order you detained and release you once COVID-19 is gone.”
“Gulo, barilian, o patayan, I will not hesitate to let my soldiers shoot you. Kapag kayo na-detain, bahala kayo sa pagkain ninyo. Kung gusto ninyo ng gulo, guguluhin ko ang bayan natin,” he said.
(A mess, shooting or killings... If you are detained, take care of your own food. If you want a mess, I will mess up our country.)
“Do not test this government, this government isn't inutile,” the President said, adding if dissenters endangered lives and the occasion called for it, “shoot them dead.”
“Now is the time to set an example to everybody. I am not used to scaring people, so let this be a warning to all. Follow government at this time because it is critical that we have order and do not harm the health workers, the doctors because that is a serious crime,” he said.
Duterte assured the relief will arrive even if government workers were delayed in distributing it.
“Even if you suffer the delayed delivery, it will arrive. You will not die from hunger,” he added.
READ: Luzon in for ‘new normal‘ as post-lockdown loomsREAD: Duterte orders strict audit of med donations
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