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Pres. Rodrigo Duterte gets “praise” from loyal supporters for not putting PH under MGCQ

Robredo and the rest of the Duterte administration’s critics, meanwhile, continue to get bashed—even if Duterte’s ideas come from them.

Health experts and Duterte Diehard Supporters (DDS) alike had nothing but praise for President Rodrigo Duterte after not placing the entire country under a modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles confirmed that after speaking to the IATF last February 22, Duterte thumbed down the suggestion to put the entire country under MGCQ.

Duterte’s main reason for doing so: the lack of presence of COVID-19 vaccines in the country.

This would earn “praise” from his loyal supporters, with a new “script” now being circulated on social media.

In eerily similar posts, supporters of Duterte said while they are “for MGCQ”, they will “submit to his decision because he is a democratically elected leader.”

The scripted post also throws shade at the “Yellows”—the standard DDS term for the opposition—and tells them to “learn a thing or two.”

Both Duterte’s decision and the scripted “response” have earned their fair share of mileage on social media.

Physician and Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist Gideon Nolasco has called on fellow doctors to take a stand against Duterte’s approach to COVID-19.

He questioned the steps the administration has taken to combat the global pandemic, saying frontliners and Filipinos “deserve better than being forced to choose between economy and health but ending up with neither.”

Netizens also pointed out how Duterte’s recent proclamation was suggested by no less than Vice President Leni Robredo less than 24 hours before the IATF meeting took place last Monday, Feb. 22.

In her weekly radio show BISErbisyong Leni on DZXL, Robredo asked what was the basis for placing the entire country under the less strict MGCQ.

She also pointed out how transmission rates are still high compared to other countries, and that the IATF’s energy is best used to controlling the transmission of COVID-19.

This very statement would earn the ire of the DDS horde, though their opinions would be buried in the myriad of trending topics on social media.

Health experts laud Duterte decision

Health experts, on the other hand, agreed with Duterte’s decision to not put the country under the more lax MGCQ.

In an interview with CNN’s Pinky Webb, infectious diseases expert Dr. Rontgene Solante expressed relief in Duterte’s decision to not ease quarantine classifications until COVID-19 vaccines have been rolled out.

He also stressed that while the country’s health care system has been preparing for the transition to the less strict MGCQ, the president’s decision allows them to up their preparations even more.

A separate interview with CNN Philippines also has Solante saying it’s best to wait another month before putting Metro Manila and the entire country under MGCQ.

Health reform advocate and former IATF consultant Dr. Tony Leachon also expressed support for Duterte’s decision.

He also said that for the entire Philippines to shift to MGCQ, we would need to inoculate “at least 5 million Filipinos in Metro Manila”. This would suffice, according to Leachon, since the Philippines is an archipelago.

NEDA’S response, timeline for MGCQ

The proposal to have the country open up and shift to MGCQ was first suggested by NEDA (National Economic Development Agency) Acting Sec. Karl Chua.

After hearing the news, Chua would go on record to say NEDA supports the president’s decision not to shift to MGCQ.

He also said that “the whole of the government would work hard… to roll out the vaccine so we can further open the economy.”

In the same briefing, Nograles would be asked for a timeline of when the country might shift to MGCQ.

His response: “There is no definite date when the country will shift to MGCQ.”

He would, however, say the IATF would again propose the idea to the president after COVID-19 vaccine drives have begun.

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