Duterte says aid being silently given to poor Filipinos

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 4) — President Rodrigo Duterte said the government has not stopped in giving aid to needy Filipinos during the pandemic, only that these efforts have never been made public.

"Ngayon may binibigay ako sa poorest of the poor. Sabi ko yung walang trabaho, walang makain, nagdidistribute kami. It's going on since...from the last ano natin dito, program. Wala yan, silent. Sabi ko, no publicity," he said during his weekly briefing on Monday.

[Translation: Now I am giving something to the poorest of the poor. I said those who do not have jobs, have nothing to eat, we are distributing help. It's going on since...our last program here. It is all silent. i said, no publicity.]

But Duterte said he was forced to make it public so that they would know that there could be a better way in distributing aid. He added announcing such programs would cause people to gather and increase the possibility of contracting COVID-19.

Duterte said officials could go to barangay officials to have them identify those most in need in their areas and then ask barangay health workers to help in dropping off packages.

He asked those who were severely affected to wait, or to communicate with their barangay captains and they would receive help.

READ: Duterte orders local officials to enforce laws vs. health protocol violators 

Duterte said the public should be smart when leaving their homes as the virus had severe consequences.

"Gamitin niyo ang utak niyo. Delikado ang pandemya...hindi laru-laro ito o sakit-sakitan. Pagka tinamaan ka nito, wala na," he said.

[Translation: Use your brains. The pandemic is deadly...this isn't a game. If you get this, it's over.]

To date, the country has 1,062,225 cases, with the death toll reaching 17,525. Recoveries, meanwhile, have been logged at 975,234.