President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday night asked the public to refrain from challenging the authorities amid the uncertainty brought about by the community quarantines meant to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Duterte said relief will arrive even if delayed.
"Ang pera, dadating. Ang pagkain dadating. Huwag lang kayong magulo para smooth. Sa Bisaya pa, hapsay. Ayaw og hadloka ang gobyerno. Do not intimidate government," Duterte said.
"Do not challenge government. Matatalo kayo, sigurado. Magtiis na lang siguro kayo ng delayed delivery pero dadating yan. Hindi kayo mamamatay sa gutom," he added.
Duterte made the remark two days after announcing that the government would distribute P200 billion to low-income families whose livelihood had been affected by the community quarantines.
The government has also repeatedly said that relief goods were forthcoming through the local government authorities.
"Kaya ngayon DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) na at ‘yung pera DSWD pati si Secretary (Carlito) Galvez," Duterte said.
"Naintindihan ninyo ‘yan? Wala na kayong pakialam. Tinanggal ko na ang politiko. Puro na ito sa gobyerno. Mga military ito pero retired. Civilian na ‘yan," he added.
The secretary of the DSWD is former Army commanding general Rolando Bautista. Galvez, the chief implementer of the national action plan versus COVID-19, is a former chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Several communities, however, have been feeling left out of the relief efforts.
Earlier in the day, tensions ran high after residents of Sitio San Roque in Quezon City gathered to ask for relief goods that they had yet to receive.
Police said they would file charges against 21 people who were nabbed at the protest.
Lawmakers from the Makabayan bloc condemned the arrests and called for the residents’ immediate release.
“Kayong mga Kadamay, wala nang awa awa. Diyan na kayo,” Duterte said.
“I will not tolerate ‘yang sabihin ng mga pulitko [na] bitawan. Do not play hero at this time because you will encourage people to violate the law,” he added.
Duterte in his speech on Wednesday night also addressed the harassment of health workers whom some believe could be carrying the virus from their stints at the hospitals.
“‘Yung mga taong gumawa ng gano’n, I am ordering the police to go around. ‘Wag kayong mag-istambay diyan sa istasyon. Maglakad kayo, tandem, at maghanap kayo ng mga taong bastos,” Duterte said.
“Kung mahuli mo kung ano ‘yung binubuhos niya doon sa health worker, ibuhos mo rin sa kanya para tabla. Bakit, ikaw lang ba marunong? E ‘di tikman mo rin ‘yung ginagawa mo,” he added. -NB, GMA News