President Rodrigo Duterte believes that God will not forsake the Philippines as it continues to grapple with the prevailing coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

“Marunong ang Diyos. Alam niyang hindi tayo niya pababayaan, especially Pilipinas kasi Kristiyanos tayo (God is knowledgeable. He knows He won’t forsake us, especially the Philippines because we’re Christians),” he said in a taped public address aired Tuesday morning.

He also appealed to the public to make the “sacrifice” of complying with quarantine protocols such as physical distancing, wearing face masks, and frequent hand-washing.

According to Duterte, if Jesus Christ could sacrifice himself for the sins of humanity, Filipinos could at least practice “patience” while waiting for a Covid-19 vaccine to be developed.

“Magsakripisyo lang tayo ng konti. Tutal ang ating idol nag sakripisyo man din. Pinaghahampas-hampas, ipinako pa sa krus. Tayo pasimba-simba, paluhod-luhod man diyan (Let’s sacrifice a little. Our idol made a sacrifice as well. He was whipped, nailed to the cross. We just hear mass, kneel). So dedicate it to the Lord that you also suffer for the country,” he said.

He reminded the public to “persevere” in this difficult time where movements are restricted to curb the spread of the virus.

Last April, Duterte sought God’s help as he leads the entire nation in its fight against Covid-19.

Duterte said he understood the clamor to completely open the economy to protect people’s livelihoods, but emphasized that he is being held back by the scientific data which shows a spike in Covid-19 cases in the country.

“I am as mad as you. Galit ako, pareho tayo, sa nangyari. Ginusto ninyo na buksan ko na ang puwerta. Gusto ko ‘yan, gusto ko…ang nagpipigil sa akin ang science (We are all mad. You wanted to open the door. I wanted that, but science is stopping me from doing so),” he said.

He, however, expressed hope that a vaccine would soon be available and vowed to purchase dosages immediately even if it would need to borrow money from foreign countries.

The national government is now urging local governments, the private sector, and the public to play a bigger role in containing the spread of the virus by enhancing efforts to test, trace, and treat.

Asymptomatic and mild Covid-19 patients are also encouraged to undergo facility-based quarantine instead of self-isolating at home.

As of Monday (July 20), there are a total of 68,898 confirmed Covid-19 cases in the country, of which, 23,072 are recoveries and 1,835 are deaths. (Azer Parrocha, PNA)