President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday night took to task Cebuanos for being too slow in complying with the national government's measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
"Kayong mga Cebuano, huwag sana kayo magalit sa akin. Prangka lang tayo. Mas mabuti na prangka tayo. Pupunta ako diyan sa inyo. Papaprangkahin ko kayo pagdating ko. Ang titigas ng ulo ninyo," Duterte said in Bisaya.
"This is not the first time. This is not the first national emergency na mabagal kumilos ang mga Cebuano. Kung gagalaw naman ang dami pang sinasabi," he added.
Duterte made the remark as the Department of Health reported on Sunday that Cebu City had 3,733 cases. Central Visayas, on the other hand, logged 5,667 new infections over the weekend.
"Bakit marami? Because you were too confident and too complacent about it.
Binalewala nyo," Duterte said.
With the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the country, Cebu City has the distinction of being the only local government unit to be reverted back by Duterte to an enhanced community quarantine on June 16.
"Lahat nasa bahay na kayo sa Cebu nagmo-motor pa. Ang report sa akin ng military sa Talisay parang nasa palengke lang araw araw, pasyal nang pasyal," Duterte said.
"You were forewarned in advance that there was this very dangerous microbe called COVID-19," he added.
Duterte on Monday night ordered Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu to go to Cebu to address the alarming increase of COVID-19 cases in the city.
He said Cimatu would be an "adjunct" official of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases to identify what needs to be done in Cebu.
"I am just sad that Cebu has to undergo that kind of painful situation now but nonetheless kaya natin 'yan," Duterte said in a televised briefing on Monday night.
"And I am sure Cimatu he cannot solve the problem on his own he has just to make recommendations and let us know what we should be doing," he added.
Cimatu joins a roster of retired generals of the Armed Forces who are currently involved in the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It includes Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Interior Secretary Eduardo Ano, Social Welfare Secretary Rolando Joselito Bautista and chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez.
Duterte has repeatedly professed his faith in the competence and loyalty of retired military officials.
The DOH on Friday said it was investigating the new clustering of COVID-19 cases in 13 barangays of Cebu City, according to Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.
"Yes, we have new clustering of cases in the province of Cebu—specifically dito sa areas sa Cebu City with the different barangays," Vergeire said in a virtual interview.
"Maraming assumptions ngayon. Pinapunta natin ang ating team doon so that they can really do the epidemiologic investigation," Vergeire said.
The entry of returning overseas Filipino workers, the infections in jails, and the expanded testing capacity in the area are among those that are being looked into, she added. -NB, GMA News