Presidential spokesman Harry Roque apologized after a video of him shouting at some healthcare workers demanding that the country be put under strict lockdowns due to the increase in COVID-19 cases in the Philippines has spread.
The video went viral today where Roque scolds Dr. Maricar Limpin, president of the Philippine College of Physicians, who is calling for the recall of the lifting of quarantine restrictions in Metro Manila due to the record-high COVID-19 cases.
“Kinukumpirma ko po na tayo po’y naging emosyonal, pasensya naman po kayo, tao lamang, doon sa rekomendasyon ng dalawang doktor… na mag-impose ng hard [enhanced community quarantine] lockdown [sa Metro Manila],” Roque said.
“Kung meron po akong na-offend sa aking pananalita, well, humihingi po ako ng abiso. Pero kinakailangan na pong pakinggan natin ‘yung boses ng mga hindi naririnig sa [Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases], ang hanay ng naghihirap at nagugutom.”
The video was allegedly taken before Roque announced the retraction of the previously declared looser general community quarantine (GCQ) in the National Capital Region on Tuesday.
Roque explained that his head was heating up because many were already starving from the occasional implementation of lockdowns in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. He said it is necessary to balance the health and return to work of the people.
Roque apologizes for berating doctors during IATF meeting
He also asked why it is necessary to call for hard lockdowns and ECQ even though almost half of Metro Manila is vaccinated against COVID-19.
“Classified secret ang mga pagpupulong ng IATF… kasi lahat po ng desisyon ng IATF, makakaapekto sa lahat ng Pilipino ke mayaman, ke mahirap,” he added.
“Kinakailangan po talaga, magkaroon ng debate dahil kung wala… baka mamaya hindi makagawa ng tamang desisyon ang IATF. Gayunpaman, lumabas na po ‘yan.”
President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesperson added that Filipinos do not rely on cash aid and favor working if given the opportunity.
In the video released by Inquirer.net, Roque can be seen irritated because he allegedly heard “nothing” from the groups of healthcare workers that the government did well.
“How dare you think that we are not considering steps to prevent the loss of lives? … And let me point out to everyone: this group, they have never said anything good about government response!” Roque said.