Gwen defends Dino, disagrees with Byron
Lorraine L. Ecarma (The Freeman) - June 23, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia has come to the defense of Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Dino against criticisms alluding to corruption in the purchase of COVID-19 test kits.

In her previous virtual presser, Garcia had pointed to a headline published by a local newspaper which quoted Dino saying he had nothing to do with the procurement of the testing kits purchased by Cebu City.

Garcia said that the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas has donated the kits through the foundation of Dino’s mother, the Cristina Lee Foundation.

"We know very well that in the past few weeks, there has been a lot of innuendos. Mga insinuations against Secretary Mike Dino," she said.

"Na-mention na gikan ang test kits sa OPAV because Secretary Dino, though the foundation of his mother, also donated test kits. I think there’s a confusion there… lahi to ang gipang-donate gikan sa foundation sa inahan ni Secretary Mike," she added.

Among Dino’s critics quoted in the article is Garcia’s brother and former Capitol Consultant Byron Garcia.

The governor stressed that she does not share her brother’s opinion.

"Yes, Byron is my brother but this does not mean nga pariha mi ug hunahuna. Mahimo nga sa isa ka pamilya, lain-lain ang paghuna-huna. Right now, I stand with Secretary Mike Dino," she added.

Garcia said that she has seen what Dino "has done for Cebu."

In particular, she pointed to Dino siding with the Province of Cebu’s ban against pork from areas of the country infected by the African Swine Fever.

“Sa tanang Cabinet meetings, it was Secretary Mike  who came to Cebu’s defence. He took a position," she said.

TASK FORCE-7

Meanwhile, given the rising number of symptomatic COVID-19 positive cases in Cebu, hospitals are almost full.

While hospitals are increasing their capacity following Dino’s request, there are other problems that need to be addressed.

Given the situation, Dino asked the national government to create a task force against COVID-19 for Central Visayas.  For its part, Malacañang will reportedly be forming the COVID-19 Task Force for Region 7.

In its request, OPAV hoped that a guy from the military or police be named head of the task force.

Dino said he is hoping that Malacañang will appoint someone with a police or military background to head the task force, believing that one of the biggest challenges “the task force will place is enforcing discipline and compliance among the Cebuanos.”

“This will ensure that Central Visayas will be assured of resources in managing the pandemic from the National Government. The task force is tasked to oversee directly the implementation of the quarqantine and minimum health requirements on the ground.  It will monitor and enforce compliance of social distancing protocols and wearing of masks especially at the barangay level. It will synergize our response throughout the region and properly allocate resources as needed,” Dino said.

He added that imposing discipline is crucial to support our doctors, nurses and other frontliners “who are fast becoming overwhelmed” in the campaign against COVID-19.

The OPAV is mandated to provide assistance to LGUs on matters that required attention of the President.   GAN (FREEMAN)

GWENDOLYN GARCIA
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