“Ano ba talaga itong — are we on the second, third, fourth or fifth wave? O no wave at all?” President Rodrigo Duterte asked Health Secretary Francisco Duque III during a meeting with members of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang on May 25, 2020.
In response to President Duterte’s question, Secretary Duque said “Mr. President, we’re actually on the first major wave — major po of sustained community transmission.”
“Iyon pong nabanggit ko na second wave and my — my assumption, my statement, was based on the article that was published by Dr. John Wong of the EpiMetrics,” the health secretary explained.
He noted that Dr. John Wong sits as one of the expert advisers of the Inter-agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease.
“And to him, as an epidemiologist, a top epidemiologist, he considers the three first cases in the Philippines, although imported, would represent a minor wave. Maliit na wave lang ho siya, sir,” Secretary Duque said. “Tapos nagkaroon po tayo ng lull of about a month, the whole of February. And then March nagkaroon ho tayo ng mga umpisang reported cases.”
President Duterte then advised Secretary Duque not be “touchy” on “issues because always there will be pro and cons. Pakinggan na lang natin because this is a democracy.”
“So alam ko ikaw you are hard-pressed and I know your situation. You just tell us if it that’s the — if that is that the one that’s in your — the gray matter between your ears, eh ‘di sabihin mo. Ngayon kung ayaw ninyong maniwala, bahala kayo basta ito ‘yung akin,” he added.
“Maybe you should adopt that kind of attitude. So be it. If I committed the wrong, as long as there is no malice there,” President Duterte said.