Iloilo City mayor slams Roque for blaming citizens for COVID-19 spread

Franco Luna - Philstar.com
Iloilo City mayor slams Roque for blaming citizens for COVID-19 spread
This screengrab is from the June 30, 2020 press briefing by presidential spokesperson Harry Roque.
PTV, screen grab

MANILA, Philippines — Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas blasted presidential spokesman Harry Roque for blaming the Ilonggos for the surge in COVID-19 cases in their area. 

"Harry is okay, but sometimes, his mouth runs faster than his brain...instead of trying to look for ways to help out, he is blaming us. What kind of person are you?" Treñas said in an interview aired over Sa Totoo Lang on One PH. 

The Iloilo chief executive called attention to the crumbling health systems in the city, where all ventilators are used and ICUs full up. 

"That's why I am asking for equipment. When are they going to prioritize Iloilo? What hurts is that with cases rising, we're still the ones at fault. What is that? It isn't right."

This comes after Roque claimed that the lack of discipline is the cause of the steep rise in infections outside of Metro Manila. 

“Unfortunately, when it comes to the increase in cases, the solution is to wear masks, wash hands and observe physical distancing,” he said then. 

This is not the first time Roque has pinned the blame on Filipinos for rising cases. 

READ: Roque, who scolds Filipinos for being 'pasaway', justifies 'side trip' to dolphin park

'Pilipino rin kami'

But Treñas on Wednesday called attention to the lack of vaccines in the area, saying his city only received just 66,000 of the 84,000 doses that the Department of Health reported. 

"I'm sorry, [DOH Undersecretary] Vergeire, but it was only 66,000. I don't know and I do not have any knowledge where the 17,000 doses went. I wrote to [DOH Western Visayas director Emilia] Monicimpo, but I didn't get an answer," he also said over dzMM TeleRadyo.

Lawmakers and government officials alike are calling for increased vaccine supplies in areas beyond the so-called NCR+ bubble. 

According to the OCTA Research Group, intensive care units in the city have already hit full capacity

Treñas pointed out that Metro Manila cities were getting much more supplies from the national government than cities outside the capital region. 

"We're a region of about eight million people. Quezon City is a city of three million people. They've already been given already 600,000...we were give just 300,000. What is equitable about that?" the mayor said. 

"I am as Filipino as [Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte], and I am as dedicated to my work as her."

To date, the Department of Health has recorded 1.37 million coronavirus infections in the country, 52,696 of whom are still classified as active cases. 

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