Martin Diño
This file photo shows Martin Diño, now an undersecretary at the Department of the Interior and Local Government
Philstar.com/Efigenio Toledo IV, File

DILG's Diño claims, for the second time, that he was 'misquoted' by media

Franco Luna (Philstar.com) - April 21, 2021 - 11:39am

MANILA, Philippines — Facing backlash over his claim that community pantries required permits from local authorities, an exec of the Department of the Interior and Local Government leaned on a familiar tactic: falsely claiming that he was simply misquoted. 

Speaking in an interview aired over Radyo Singko 92.3 News FM, Interior Undersecretary Martin Diño walked back his earlier pronouncement and took on a much softer stance as he discredited media reports about his interview. 

"Actually, we were just misquoted. There is no need to get a permit or clearance. My suggestion was just to coordinate with the barangay," Diño, who serves as the DILG's Undersecretary for Barangays, said in Filipino. 

"If [organizers] are able to coordinate with the barangay, at least the lines are orderly and [enforcers] can check if they're wearing face masks or face shields." 

Diño said otherwise in his interview aired over ANC just the day before, where he was flatly asked if permits were needed and he said: "I think now they need a permit from the mayor or the barangay...the intentions are noble, but it might later trigger coronavirus transmission." 

"There are protocols we have to follow...that's why donations are coursed through the proper authority," he added in Filipino. 

Amid the strong reaction from public officials, it took just one day for the very first community pantry along Maginhawa Street to announce that it would halt operations for the time being amid fears over the safety of its volunteers.

Ana Patricia Non, who set up the Maginhawa pantry, reported red-tagging and harassment from police officers. Many other community pantries across Metro Manila reported the same. 

READ: Harassment of community pantries leads to clamped operations

'Misquoted' shame campaign suggestion 

This is not the first time that the undersecretary has done so. 

Earlier in the pandemic, he drew flack for suggesting that a "shame campaign" against "stubborn" coronavirus patients was in order. 

If it is found that you are asymptomatic or symptomatic, well, your neighbors should know that. Because before, when you leave the house, they will talk to you. They talk to their relatives. That's why maybe it's proper to have a shame campaign," he said then. 

In response to criticisms on social media, he was quick to claim that his words were "misquoted or twisted by some media outlets."

A video of his July 17, 2020 interview on Radyo5's "All Ready" shows that he was talking about the DILG's planned implementation of "Oplan Kalinga", a program to fetch COVID-19 patients on home quarantine and bring them to government quarantine facilities when he mentioned the campaign. 

RELATED: Why officials' false claims of being misquoted do not help anyone

— with a report from News5

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