By Deighton Acuin

PHOTO: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Malacañang on Tuesday clarified President Rodrigo Duterte was not belittling the COVID-19 pandemic, only assuring the current situation is “temporary” and that the Philippines will overcome the struggles.

During an online Palace briefing, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque made the clarification after Duterte drew criticisms after calling the pandemic as “small thing.”

While he is saddened over the impacts brought by the pandemic, Roque said the country continue to live through and even spared from reporting deaths compared to richer countries.

“Ang sinasabi ng Presidente, temporary lang po ‘yan. Hindi po ‘yan forever. Lilipas din po ‘yan at pagdating po ng bakuna, magkakaroon nga po tayo ng solution sa ating problema, magkakaroon tayo ng new normal,” Roque said.

“Hindi po minamaliit ng ating Presidente ang ating paghihirap. Ang sinasabi po niya, babangon naman po tayo dyan, we will heal as one.”

“Pero by and large po ang sinasabi ng Presidente ay compared to other countries lalong lalo na yung ating fatality rate ay nasa 2.05 percent po. We have been spared from even more deaths na naexperience ng mga mas mayayaman at mas developed na mga bansa na merong mas maraming pondo para sa healthcare,” Roque added.

During his weekly Talk to the People on Monday, March 15, Duterte said the Philippines will beat the COVID-19 pandemic, adding it is a “small thing in our lives.”

The President made the remark as the country experiences another surge of infections, with a record high of 5,404 new cases for year 2021.

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