President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday asked for the public’s compliance with health protocols this holiday season, saying there would be a curtailment of usual traditions and celebrations to avoid Covid-19.

“We are saying sorry that there will be a curtailment of so many things that you have been used to during Christmas time. Look at it this way, all of the Christmas of your lifetime, ngayon lang naman ito isang beses hinihingi ng gobyerno para sa iyo,” he said in a televised address.

The president said the government merely wanted everyone to be healthy.

“Pero you have had so many Christmas blowouts and parties. Itong kaisa-isa lang, this is one Christmas, the only Christmas maybe that government will interfere in your private affairs,” Duterte said.

“You had parties every Christmas. Would you be kind enough just to skip the — not really frivolous but the festivities, iwasan na muna ninyo. You avoid it because it is for your own good and for the good of the community and eventually for the good of the country,” he added.

Duterte also floated his plan to ban fireworks nationwide in 2021, just like what he did in Davao when he was mayor.

“May one year pa kayo next December. Baka next December i-bawal ko na ang putok because it is really a dangerous thing and for reasons of public safety and health. Public safety, mamatay ka, magkasakit ka. Health is ma-ospital ka, maputol iyong kamay mo. It’s a health problem actually iyong inhalation ng powder smoke. So, it is a problem of health, public interest and public safety,” he said. John Ezekiel J. Hirro