Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque denied blaming Iloilo City residents over the surge of coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19, cases tin the city, saying that he was just emphasizing the importance of following minimum public health standards amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“What I meant was, bagama’t nariyan na ang bakuna, habang wala pa tayong containment at population protection, mask, hugas, iwas pa rin ang first line of defense,” Roque said in yesterday’s press conference.
“That is my message to everyone where there is a surge of COVID-19 cases,” he added.
Likewise, Roque downplayed Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas’ comment that Roque’s mouth works faster than his brain, saying Treñas was just ribbing him in a good way since Roque’s mother is from Iloilo.
“Lambing po ‘yan. He knows I am Ilonggo,” Roque added.
Last week, Roque said that the surge of COVID-19 cases in the provinces is not due to lack of vaccines but due to people not complying with health protocols and new variants of coronavirus which are more transmissible.
“At kabahagi ng solusyon siyempre po ang bakuna, pero kumakalat pa rin po ang COVID, dahil hindi po sumusunod ang ating ilang mga kababayan doon sa pakiusap ng ating Presidente na mag-mask, hugas, at iwas,” Roque said then.
He also said that the government will provide aid to provinces battling increase in COVID-19 cases.
GALVEZ, ROQUE COMING TO ILOILO CITY
Meanwhile, Roque and IATF Chief Implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez are coming to Iloilo City next week.
According to Treñas, Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Dr. Leopoldo Vega will also join Galvez and Roque.
“…they are coming to Iloilo City early next week with the needed supplies and solutions,” Treñas announced yesterday.
He shared that Roque and Galvez called to inform him that they are looking for solutions for the city’s concerns which include lack of vaccines, PhilHealth problem of unpaid bills to hospitals amounting to almost P1 billion, lack of medical personnel, lack of COVID medicines, and lack of equipment like ventilators and high flow oxygen cannula.
On Tuesday, June 22, the city received 5,850 doses of Pfizer vaccines and 20,000 doses of Sinovac vaccines.
Treñas also mentioned that Galvez and DOH Secretary Francisco Duque assured him of additional 50,000 doses of Sinovac vaccines. (GMA News/With a report from Glenda Tayona)/WDJ