“OK naman si Harry but minsan, mas mabilis ang bunganga niya sa utak,” Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas said as he blasted presidential spokesman Harry Roque for blaming the Ilonggos for the surge in COVID-19 cases in their area.
Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas called on presidential spokesman Harry Roque on Tuesday, June 22, to stop blaming the people whenever the cases of COVID-19 begin to increase in certain areas.
Treñas said it is painful to hear someone like Roque talk like it is their fault because COVID-19 cases surged in Iloilo City.
“Ang masakit pa, tumataas ang kaso namin, kami pa ang may kasalanan. Ano ba ‘yan? Hindi naman tama ‘yan…There is this virus that is going around,” Treñas told “Sa Totoo Lang” on One PH.
He asked what kind of government Roque is trying to bring out by not being mindful of what he says. “…instead of trying to look for ways to help out, he is blaming us. What kind of person are you?” Treñas told Roque.
According to the mayor, he was thinking of helping Roque in the city should he decide to run for senator in next year’s elections, but Treñas said he is now “ambivalent about the whole situation.”
“Because instead of helping Iloilo City, he is blaming its citizens,” he noted.
Treñas said he and Roque are friends and were together in Congress, but he thinks the presidential spokesman doesn’t think before he speaks.
“OK naman si Harry but minsan, mas mabilis ang bunganga niya sa utak niya so I think as an intelligent person, dapat mauna ang utak mo sa bunganga mo,” he criticized.
“He is blaming the Illongos. What kind of secretary are you? Are you there as a secretary to help out? Or are you a secretary who will be blaming people because they get sick?” Treñas repeated.
Treñas had been asking the national government’s help as Iloilo City had been overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases and its hospitals had reached full capacity.
The mayor also expressed frustration over the “unequal” distribution of vaccine supplies, saying the province should be prioritized given their situation.
Treñas urged the national government to give them more vaccines. He blamed the OCTA Research group for recommending that the 90 percent of the jabs be allocated to the National Capital Region (NCR) and eight other provinces.
“…look what happened?” Treñas stressed.
Last month, OCTA said the number of infections in the country would be reduced by half if 90 percent of the vaccines would be deployed in NCR.
The mayor attributed the surge in COVID-19 cases in Iloilo City to the lack of vaccines for their people.
“Look at the United States of America and Europe. Why did the cases start slowly to go down? It is because vaccines were given and there was no need for people, mayors or governors to beg, to plead, to ask for help because their government immediately gave out the vaccines,” he said.
“We are pleading, we are begging. Whatever they give us, we will thank them,” he added. “You know, unfortunately, beggars cannot be choosers.”
Treñas also said the Department of Health (DOH) should not take their complaints against if they consider the distribution of the vaccine supplies to be unfair.
On Tuesday, Trenas wrote to the DOH Western Visayas demanding an explanation about the more than 17,000 doses of vaccine shortfall for Iloilo City.
“Since March this year, we have received a total of 66,544 doses of vaccines, broken down as follows; 49,664 Sinovac; and 16,880 AstraZeneca…” the letter read.
“However, in the June 20, 2021 report of DOH, it stated that Iloilo City has been sent 84,224 (62,804 Sinovac and 21,420 AstraZeneca),” it added.
He said the city is more than ready to vaccinate its people but emphasized that the government should deploy additional vaccines “if we want to protect our people.”
Also on Tuesday, the local government received 5,850 doses of Pfizer and 20,000 doses of Sinovac jabs from the national government.
Treñas pleaded for healthcare workers, medicines like remdisivir and medical equipment such as ventilators and high-flow oxygen nasal cannula from the national government.
“Ang intensive care unit (ICU) punong-puno na. Lahat ng ventilators, ginagamit na. That’s why I am asking for equipment. Kailan pa natin ipa-prioritize ang Iloilo?” he said.
P1-billion debt of PhilHealth
He also slammed Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) for not paying the local hospitals, noting the government’s debt amounting to almost P1 billion.
“We need PhilHealth to pay the hospitals… I do not know why binabalik nila ang bills so how can these hospitals survive?” he asked.
“Eventually, these hospitals will fall, fold up, and what will happen to us here? We also need help here,” he pointed out.
According to Treñas, PhilHealth president and chief executive officer Dante Gierran, in a meeting, promised them that the agency would pay the hospitals, but he noted that up to now “there are no payments.”
“They are not paying… There are payments [but not they are not enough],” he said.
Treñas maintained that they never made any noise when they did not need the help of the national government.
Roque assured Treñas that the national government was listening to advice from experts such as the DOH, Philippine General Hospital, and the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health and not just OCTA.
Roque told the mayor to ensure compliance with minimum public health and safety protocols in the province to prevent the spread of COVID-19 cases.
“Unfortunately, when it comes to the increase in cases, the solution is to wear masks, wash hands and observe physical distancing,” he said.
Iloilo City will be under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) until the end of the month starting June 16 as per Resolution No. 121 approved by the National Inter-Agency Task Force For the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases issued on June 14.
The province has been elevated to a stricter classification from modified general community quarantine status or MGCQ due to the surge in COVID-19 cases.
It was first placed under MECQ on May 23 to 31 and extended from June 1 to 15.
/LMT — AdChoiceTV News (Visayas)