Robredo: Wrong and ‘self-defeating’ to blame Cebuanos for upsurge in COVID-19 cases

By: Gabriel Pabico Lalu - INQUIRER.net July 07,2020 - 07:05 PM

MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo on Tuesday said it is wrong as it is “self-defeating” to just blame Cebuanos over the rising cases of COVID-19 in Cebu City.

In an interview with Teleradyo Cebu, Robredo explained that quarantine measures were imposed to take care of people and not to put the burden of minimizing coronavirus infections on the public’s shoulders.

She also noted that the government’s approach towards the pandemic should be to care for its citizens and shun presumptions that people are causing the spike in COVID-19 cases which leads to being punitive.

“Mali iyon kasi parang kapag sinisi mo sa tao, parang self-defeating na kaagad, ‘di ba.  Parang ang presumption mo na kaagad, masama iyong tao […] bakit ba ginagawa natin iyong quarantine? Ginagawa natin iyong quarantine para ligtas iyong mga tao,” Robredo said when asked if it was right to blame Cebuanos.

“Pero kapag sinabi na natin na iyong tao iyong problema, parang baliktad ito sa dati nating –sa dapat nating ginagawa.  Kasi iyong tao nga iyong dapat proteksyunan, bakit sila iyong salarin?” she added.

The Vice President likewise stressed that there are cases where people within a local government unit (LGU) have adhered to the rules and regulations, provided that the government officials were able to communicate the orders properly.

She also mentioned several incidents showing cases where the government immediately assumed that people were bent on disobeying quarantine regulations, like the case of former Army Cpl. Winston Ragos who was shot dead by a police officer despite him having a mental disorder, and the jeepney drivers who were arrested for protesting the government’s transport ban.

“[…] Kung ang presumption mo na kaagad masama iyong tao, talagang iba iyong pag-implement mo at saka paggawa ng policies,” she claimed.

“Pero kapag ang presumption mo iyong tao dapat arugain, mas understanding ka. Mas humane iyong pag-implement mo ng mga policies. Halimbawa, may nakita ka sa labas na walang mask. Kapag kinulong mo iyan, self-defeating iyan, eh. Kung walang mask, bigyan kung wala siya,” she also said.

Previously, President Rodrigo Duterte scored Cebuanos for being overconfident and hard-headed, which supposedly led to increasing coronavirus transmissions in the city.

As of now, it is only Cebu City that is under an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) as other parts of the country are either in a general community quarantine or a modified general community quarantine.  This made Duterte send Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu to manage the pandemic response in Cebu City.

Last Sunday, Cebu recorded 1,187 more coronavirus-infected patients, bringing the total number of cases in the city to almost 5,989.

READ: In a week, Cebu City records around 1K more COVID-19 cases

Past and present Cebu officials – from former mayor Tomas Osmeña to incumbent Mayor Edgardo Labella – defended the city and its people from Duterte’s statements, saying there are other factors to why Cebu has a high number of COVID-19 infections.

READ: ‘Hardheaded?’ Cebu City mayor cites ‘other factors’ in spike of virus cases

READ: Tom O defends Cebuanos from Duterte’s statements

Robredo’s team from the Office of the Vice President and their private partners have taken their efforts to Cebu amid growing concerns in the city, offering shuttle services and dormitories for frontliners, similar to what they did in Metro Manila during the early part of the pandemic.

As of now, there are three dormitories in the area, one in Cebu, and one each in  Mandaue City and Talisay City.  The shuttle service routes are available on Robredo’s official Facebook page.

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