PRRD’s ‘community quarantine’ declaration fuels critics

Last night, March 12, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (PRRD) once again addressed the public regarding the Corona virus Disease (COVID)-19 and declared “community quarantine” for the National Capital Region rather than “lockdown”. The declaration, as usual, fueled more criticisms against the President.

Below are some of the criticisms:

  1. The declaration confuses more than it clarifies. Many have been asking: What is it’s difference from the lockdown?

PRRD said that the Interagency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases avoided the use of the word “lockdown” because it would instill fear among the public. But he revealed it is actually a lockdown.

“Ayaw namin gamitin yan pero kasi takot kayo, sabihin lockdown (We don’t want to use it. It might scare you, you might say it’s a lockdown) but it’s a lockdown. But there’s no struggle of power here,” the President said.

2. It was a sweeping declaration with no framework on how the “community quarantine” will really be operationalized. While he mentioned of checkpoints and limited mobility, it is not clear how the economic activities will be undertaken especially the supply of food and other products.

3. The declaration is devoid of clarity on health care and social protection response. The tone appears to be the usual “Bahala kayo sa buhay niyo”.

4. The declaration appears to be a prelude of a script that will eventually make China the “hero”. Instead of expounding what the government is doing to contain the virus or at least develop more test kits, PRRD took time to praise China and its leader, Xi Jin Ping, for the promise to help the Philippines.

Critics were waiting for a praise and assurance of support to the medical personnel and health workers who have been doing their best in responding to patients with, or suspected of, COVID-19. Likewise, there was no assurance of the presence of the testing kits, or the support to the Filipino scientists developing COVID-19 testing kits.

5. Lastly, critics also lashed out at the Duterte style of announcing the declaration which, they say, is very “unstatesman”. PRRD should have just read the prepared message, they suggested, and did not attempt to interpret or make adlibs.

As such, comparisons were therefore made between PRRD, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, and Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeu.

The video of PRRD’s lengthy announcement is shown below while the transcript is available here.

Lee Hsien Loong’s and Justin Trudeu’s announcements are also available below. Both are well-researched, and short yet with substance.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong addressing his people on COVID-19.
Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeu issues statements on Canada’s response to COVID-19.

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