Duque refuses to correct Duterte’s 'jokes' on disinfecting masks with gasoline

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 21) — Health Secretary Francisco Duque III admitted that he chose not to correct President Rodrigo Duterte’s unscientific remarks despite the harmful effects they may cause to the public.

Duque told the University of the Philippines town hall webinar on Friday that decisions regarding COVID-19 should be guided by science.

“Hindi naman. Unang-una si presidente can be playful," said Duque "Nag bibiro siya parang hindi na tayo nasanay apat na taon na si presidente.”

[Translation: Not really. First of all, the president can be playful. It’s as if we’re not yet used to him.]

One of these include the remark of Duterte, saying that people should disinfect their face masks with gasoline, which medical experts were quick to warn people about.

Other officials also suggested it was just a joke, but Duterte later made it clear that he was serious when he advised people to use gasoline as face mask disinfectant.