President Rodrigo Duterte (MNS photo)

MANILA, Aug 10 (Mabuhay) — President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday admitted that he wanted to go outside and meet people, but his doctor is preventing him from doing so.

In a pre-recorded public address, Duterte lamented how the Covid-19 pandemic has limited his interactions with local government officials as well as ordinary citizens.

“Sabihin ko sa mga tao, sa mga mayors, gusto ko silang makilala. Gusto ko sila yakapin bilang Pilipino. Ang problema, itong Covid na ‘to (I want to tell the people, mayors that I want to meet you. I want to hug you as Filipinos. The problem is this Covid-19 pandemic). It has hampered governmental everything—operations, lahat. So hindi nga natin makaharap kasi itong mga doctor ko, ayaw ako palabasin (So can’t face them because my doctors don’t want me to go outside),” he said.

Duterte floated the possibility of disregarding his doctor’s advice, saying he would simply leave everything to God.

“Gusto ko pumunta, magpa-plano ako. Nandiyan pa siguro yung doctor ko. Tawagan ko. Magplano ako, sabihin ko sa kanya, ‘huwag mo ako pilitin doc na hindi makalabas kasi ang mga tao gusto akong makita (I want to go outside, I will plan. Perhaps my doctors are there. I will call them. I will tell them, ‘don’t force me to stay inside because people want to see me,’” he said.

Should something happen to him, he said Vice President Leni Robredo would be there to take his place.

“Bahala na ang Diyos sa akin kung anong mangyari. Kung dadapuan ako ng Delta, wala na. Nandiyan man si Leni Robredo. Pag ‘yan ba ang suwerte ko sa pagsisilbi ng tao, mamatay ako, e di mamatay ako. Lahat naman tayo dito may panahon sa mundo (I’m leaving my life to God. If I get infected with Delta, it’s over. But Leni Robredo will be there. If that is my fate for serving the people, then so be it. The time will come for all of us),” he added.

Meanwhile, Duterte assured the public of the national government’s continued Covid-19 response amid the emergence of new Covid-19 variants.

“Kung may maliit na problema (If it’s a small problem), we can solve it immediately. And of course, yung malalaki, kailangan malaki ang pera (big problems need huge amounts of money), we have to work with Congress,” he said.

He said the Office of the President would be “inutile” without Congress.

Duterte also rejected anew being called “Your Excellency”, noting that the honorific is not necessary to provide good public service.

“We are just workers of government and we will work for the people. ‘Yan ang tandaan ninyo (Remember that). Wala kaming illusions diyan sa mga Presidente, Presidente, Excellency, Excellency. Ang tingin ko sa atin, talagang trabahante ng gobyerno kaya trabaho tayo (We have no illusions of being called President or Excellency. We consider ourselves as government workers so let’s work),” he added. (MNS)

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