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AFTER JEERS | Duterte’s spokesman says government goal is defeating virus, not experts’ projection
July 1, 2020 , 12:20 PM

(July 1, 2020) – After patting the government’s back on defeating experts’ projection on the coronavirus, President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesman on Wednesday clarified his remarks after drawing flak on social media.

On Tuesday, Harry Roque Jr. , with his fist held high, said the country had disproved the forecast made by experts from the University of the Philippines that cases would reach 40,000 by the end of June.

The health department said the infection cases reached more than 37,500 as of June 30.

But Roque’s jubilant remarks did not sit well with many on social media, who said his comments were ill-timed with infections yet to slow down.

At Radyo5’s “Early All Ready,” Roque said disproving the projection is a “small [but] still a victory.”

“Ang hina naman nila makagets,” he said. “Hindi po natin kalaban ang UP, ang kalaban natin ‘yung sakit. Pero sa akin, tingin ko good news na ‘yun na hindi tayo umabot sa 40,000.”

The Philippines has consistently ranked as the third highest in Southeast Asia with the most number of cases, trailing Indonesia and Singapore.

Experts from the country’s premier university had made a new projection that infections could balloon to 60,000 this time by end-July.

To which, Roque said: “Siguro sa susunod gawin natin 5,000. ‘Wag natin paabutin ng 60,000, kung kakayanin hanggang 40 or 50 lang.”

On Tuesday night, the said experts told One PH’s program “Sa Totoo Lang” that it is too early for triumphalism as government and the private sector should not lose focus on dealing with the public health crisis.

“We understand why Harry is doing that but we all have to focus our eyes on the ball,” professor Ranjit Rye said. “Hindi po panahon na dapat magpabaya tayo o maging kampante.”

Health officials reported 1,080 more infections yesterday, most of which were fresh cases coming from the Central Visayas region.

The health department, however, still has cases that need to be verified, which might push the country’s total to more than 40,000 this July.

Curbs in the capital region, as well as the stringent lockdown in Cebu City, will remain until July 15, per Duterte’s pronouncement.

The rest of the country shifts to a looser quarantine status, with various areas put on strict local action by the national government. (Christian de Lano Deiparine/MM)

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