President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (File photo)

MANILA – The prevailing coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic is the top threat to Filipinos aside from terrorists and New People’s Army (NPA), President Rodrigo R. Duterte said on Monday.

Duterte made the remark as the country recorded over 37,000 new Covid-19 infections anew.

“The number one threat to the Filipino today aside from itong (this) NPA and the terrorists is really the Covid-19 fight,” he said in a prerecorded Talk to the People.

Duterte described Covid-19 as a “debilitating sickness.”

He admitted that the national government remains concerned over the spike in Covid-19 cases brought about by the highly transmissible Omicron variant of Covid-19.

"That’s what keeps us worried in the coming months,” he added.

Meanwhile, Duterte said he was hopeful that Covid-19 cases have peaked but the Department of Health (DOH) told him that it was not the case yet.

“I just hope that kung nag peak na sana, pero (it has already peaked but) the Department of Health says it has not,” he added.

He also enjoined more Filipinos to get inoculated against Covid-19 otherwise they are at higher risk of experiencing critical Covid-19 symptoms or death.

“Kung vaccinated, medyo may laban ka. Kung wala maglibing tayo—punuin natin yung mga cemetery (If you are vaccinated, you have a fighting chance. If not, then we’re going to bury people—let’s fill up the cemeteries),” he said.

Although the Omicron variant has appeared less severe compared to the Delta variant, Duterte said those unvaccinated are most likely to suffer the consequences of not getting their jabs.

“Yung hindi talaga bakunado patay maski Omicron, patay ‘yan (If you are unvaccinated, you’re going to die. Even if it’s just Omicron, it’s death),” he added.

On Monday, the DOH recorded 37,070 additional cases --the fourth highest single-day tally since the pandemic started.

This figure brought the country's total caseload to 3,242,374.

The death toll climbed to 52,929 after 23 more patients died, while recoveries increased by 33,940 to 2,898,507.

The positivity rate was 46 percent out of 77,410 tests, which is way above the acceptable 5-percent threshold of the World Health Organization. (PNA)