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Philippines had to reopen economy or people would die, says Roque

The Philippines had to reopen the economy amid the continued threat of COVID-19 or people would have died due to the lack of livelihood, Malacañang said on Monday.

The Philippines began easing restrictions in May to help revive the pandemic-hit economy.

The Department of Health (DOH) said that the “increased contact among the population” due to the easing of the coronavirus lockdown might be the reason why the number of new cases reached another single-day high of 2,434 on Sunday.

“Wala naman tayong alternatibo kung hindi magbukas po talaga ng ekonomiya,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a briefing.

“Naipakita po natin kung ano na naging impact ng ating COVID-19 kung hindi pa po natin mabubuksan, eh, baka mamaya buhay nga tayo mamamatay naman tayo dahil wala tayong hanapbuhay.”

Roque said the number of cases would continue to increase given that there was no cure or vaccine yet for COVID-19.

He insisted that the country’s healthcare system could still accommodate COVID-19 patients, especially those who are in severe or critical condition. 

“Wala na tayong alternatibo dahil talagang sagad na rin po ang ating ekonomiya, kinakailangan na tayong maghanapbuhay lahat,” Roque said.

Roque urged Filipinos to continue observing minimum public health standards such as social distancing, wearing masks and proper hygiene to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Last week, Roque declared “victory” after the number of cases did not reach 40,000 by June 30 as earlier predicted by experts from the University of the Philippines, his alma mater where he taught law for 15 years. -NB, GMA News