Duterte reiterates his ‘gaas’ disinfection advice

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President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday reiterated his advice on using gasoline as disinfectants and said he was not joking when he suggested alternatives to alcohol as disinfectants, following remarks of his spokesperson and the country’s health department downplaying his advice as “jokes.”

In a taped address aired Friday, Duterte once again suggested that Filipinos may opt to use “gaas” (kerosene) as disinfectants if they run out of alcohol. 

“Totoo ‘yang sinabi ko alcohol. ‘Pag wala kang alcohol di naman puwede na lalong mahirap, pumunta ka lang diyan sa gasoline station tapos patulo na,” he repeated.

[What I said was true about alcohol. If you don’t have alcohol, it’s much harder, so go to a gasoline station and get some.]

“That’s disinfectant– alcohol, gaas–patulo ka lang, just to disinfect… Para sa inyo na di nakakaintindi. Di ako nagbibiro, totohanan ‘yun. Baka akala ninyo nagbibiro lang ako,” he added.

[That’s disinfectant–alcohol, gaas– just get a fill to disinfect. For those who cannot understand, I am not joking. That was true. You might be thinking that I was only joking.]

World Health Organization had said that kerosene is irritating to the eyes and skin.

In an earlier public address by the President, he made a statement that reusable facemasks could be disinfected by dipping these in gasoline or diesel. In addition, same gasoline can be used to disinfect one’s hands.

Gasoline may cause asphyxiation in enclosed, poorly ventilated or low-lying areas, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in an advisory.

The CDC also said repeated or prolonged skin contact with liquid gasoline could degrease the skin, cause irritation, and dermatitis.

Both Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque and Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire previously said the President was only making a joke with the “gasoline” remark.