Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will donate one month's salary to contribute to resolving the coronavirus crisis in the country, his spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a statement on Sunday.
He added that apart from the president, “many of the members of Duterte's cabinet have also pledged to cut 75 percent of their monthly salaries from the month of April to December of this year”.
“Others have volunteered a salary deduction for the whole duration of the state of public health emergency in solidarity with our countrymen and to help in the government efforts to halt the spread of the coronavirus”, Panelo pointed out.
According to him, the assistant secretaries of the Office of the Chief Presidential Legal Counsel and the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson have also decided to donate at least 10 percent of their income in April for the purpose, also pledging parts of their salaries in the coming months to help the government grapple with the COVID-19 fallout.
Duterte Says Police Will Kill Rioters Amid COVID-19 Lockdown
Duterte’s move comes a few days after he promised a crackdown on those Filipinos who violate the government-mandated restrictions on movement and mass gatherings.
“I will not hesitate. My orders are to the police and military, as well as village officials, if there is any trouble, or occasions where there's violence and your lives are in danger, shoot them dead. Do not intimidate the government. You will lose”, Duterte said in a televised address to the nation last Wednesday.
He spoke hours after police arrested 21 people for protesting without permission in Quezon, one of the Philippines’ largest cities, riots that Duterte blamed on the left-leaning urban poor group Kadamay.
The president’s address followed his giving kudos last week to those Filipino medics who gave their lives while treating patients infected with COVID-19.
“There are doctors, nurses, attendants who died. They were the ones who died helping others. They are so lucky. They died for the country. That should be the reason why we die. It would be an honour to die for your country, I assure you”, Duterte stressed.
The remarks came after at least 12 Filipino doctors reportedly passed away from the coronavirus, with medics complaining about the lack of protective equipment "for those on the front lines".
On 16 March, Duterte announced a six-month state of emergency in the Philippines, banning the entry of foreign nationals, with some exceptions, but stopping short of declaring a nationwide lockdown.
Instead, “community quarantines” have been enforced in most of the country, including the capital Manila, which stipulate suspending mass transportation and prohibiting mass gatherings.
The country’s Health Department has thus far reported 3,246 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 152 deaths and 64 recoveries.