Sotto also said that while the COVID-19 crisis presents challenges, local leaders could use the opportunity to work together.
Boy Santos/File
COVID response not a competition – Vico
Ralph Edwin Villanueva (The Philippine Star) - April 5, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto yesterday urged citizens not to turn the handling of local government units (LGUs) of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) into a “competition” among mayors.

In a briefing with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG,) he said mayors should just copy each other’s best practices.

“Let us avoid that, turning the COVID-19 into a competition. Let us not compare the mayors negatively. We are not competing, anyway,” Sotto said in Filipino. “We should just copy each other and our best practices.”

Sotto also said that while the COVID-19 crisis presents challenges, local leaders could use the opportunity to work together.

“We (mayors) should show people that we could do good governance,” he said.

Sotto said he has implemented the best practices in other cities and provinces in the country to curb the spread of the virus.

President Duterte, in a speech on Friday night, said politicians really cannot avoid competition and that there is always “the sense of competition of anything that comes from the government.”

This is why he tapped the Department of Social Welfare and Development to distribute the aid from the national government, Duterte said.

Duterte, in the same speech, also distanced himself from an earlier move of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to call on Sotto to explain his alleged violation of Republic Act 11469, the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, by ordering the limited mobilization of tricycles in the city to help bring health workers and patients with urgent needs to hospitals.

The NBI’s move was heavily criticized by lawmakers, lawyers and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

“We are clearing this up, we comply with the directives of the DILG because we know that the DILG and the interagency task force, they have the bird’s eye view. They have a wide perspective,” Sotto said.

“So, whatever their guidelines may be, 100 percent, we would follow. Sometimes, I just say my opinion and I hope that is not taken in a negative way. For me, I just said my opinion,” he added.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III tweeted yesterday that there is no NBI probe against his nephew.

“Why do some keep on insisting there is an NBI probe (against) Mayor Vico? There is none! I am sure they have realized by now that the move was incorrect,” the elder Sotto said.

The legislator added that the NBI assured him the case “is not an issue anymore.”

Ron Angeles of the Pasig public information office yesterday told The STAR the office of the city mayor has not officially received any communication from the NBI. – With Christina Mendez

VICO SOTTO
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