President Rodrigo Roa Dutete discusses matters with Presidential Spokesperson Herminio “Harry” Roque Jr., Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Senator Christopher Lawrence Go, Presidential Adviser on Peace Process and National Task Force against Coronavirus Disease-2019 (NTF COVID-19) chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr., and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III prior to the start of the meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members at the Malacañang Golf (Malago) Clubhouse in Malacañang Park, Manila on March 29, 2021. KING RODRIGUEZ/ PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday night said the Covid-19 pandemic had taken a toll on him, leaving no more tears to cry.

Duterte made the statement after lamenting the country’s situation amid the pandemic and vaccine supply issues worldwide.

“Now, intindihin ninyo itong mabuti mga kababayan ko, ‘pag hindi ito [nasugpo], we have to understand government, allow a certain—bigyan mo kami kaunting—medyo stretch your patience and understanding,” he said.

“We are doing our best. We are not a vaccine producing country. Wala tayong expertise, wala tayong knowledge, medical-scientific knowledge. So naghihintay tayo.”

“So ‘yan, it stretches a mile long ang journey natin sa paano natin isugpo ang bakuna. That is how hard it is para makakuha lang talaga tayo. Iyon ‘yong ganoon kahirap. Gusto ko na ngang umiyak sa harap ninyo pero naubos na ang luha ko.”

A recent World Bank report said the Philippine government’s Covid-19 response was “lagging behind” compared to other Asian countries.

Because of this and the lockdowns that were not the most “efficient containment strategy,” the economy of the Philippines was likely to expand only by 5.5 percent this year—a downgrade from earlier projections of a 5.9-percent growth—and 6.3 percent in 2022.

Currently, the National Capital Region, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal are under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) until April 4.

Quirino Province will be under modified ECQ from April 1 to 15, while Santiago City and Isabela will be under modified ECQ the entire April.

The Cordillera Administrative Region, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Batangas, Tacloban City, Iligan City, Davao City and Lanao del Sur will be under general community quarantine (GCQ) from April 1 to 30, while the rest of the country will be under modified GCQ.

The Philippine economy shrank 9.3 percent last year, the worst since World War II.

The country has recorded 741,181 Covid-19 cases as of March 30. The disease has killed more than 13,000 Filipinos or 1.78 percent of those who had tested positive for the disease. John Ezekiel J. Hirro