Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez has no idea who told President Rodrigo Duterte that he would not allow returning residents to enter the city.
This, after the president, in his late-night address last Thursday, May 28, claimed that the Ormoc City Mayor “is not going to accept anybody from entering or leaving the place. Okay man lang ‘yan. It’s part of maybe the vigilance that a person nurtures in his heart of how to do it.”
He even added: “But you know, there are also constitutional issues involved and those are sacred ones. And for those who are not really pronounced to be infected positive, there’s no reason why you should not accept them, especially those who are returning to their homes from doing work abroad. Kawawa naman kasi.”
In an Instagram post, the mayor shared a screenshot of Rappler’s fact-check about the president’s statement with the caption, “Then we wonder who told the President that I didn’t want to accept OFWs?”
On May 25, the mayor of Ormoc aired his disappointment and disbelief on the ‘carelessness’ and lack of coordination from the agencies in charge of the Balik Probinsya program of the national government amid the pandemic caused by COVID-29 in the country.
Understanding his post, Gomez only complained about the lack of coordination between the three agencies (DILG, NHA, OWWA) and the local government, but he never mentioned that he would not accept the returning residents, as what the president of the country claimed.
DILG, NHA, OWWA, what happened to all the protocols that you guys are trying to formulate for returning residents?!!!I…
Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said on Wednesday, May 27, stated: “Richard, I listened to you, and you said you’re more than ready. You have 200-300, may 200-300 beds, you have quarantine centers. That’s why you don’t have a COVID case because you’re prepared. So, I’m confused why you would be flustered suddenly if you were only notified within the hour, or within 24 hours that you have new residents arriving. You’re ready, right?”
In response to Panelo’s statement, the 54-year-old actor-politician aired his side and elaborated what he meant in his previous post.
On Instagram, Gomez reiterated that all he asked was proper coordination from the national government: “Wag niyo po masamain pag humihingi kami ng coordination sa inyo. Hindi po kami kalaban… We ask for coordination not to give anyone a hard time but to make the process smooth for everyone.
“I want the Balik Probinsya program, the LSI program and the OFW program to succeed and we in the LGU are partners of the national government. If this fails we fail, too.”
He further explained that he’s only concerned about the residents since for more than two months, the LGUs of Leyte have kept the area safe and free from the deadly virus. “Hindi Po kami nagmamarunong at hindi po ito contest ng pagalingan. Trabaho Lang Po. Kung nananatili kaming COVID negative it is not for personal glory, because at the core of every effort we put out there is the commitment to protect and save the lives of our people. Yun lang ho yung goal.
“It is a daily and consistent commitment from different sectors and the cooperation of everyone in the community to keep it that way,” he added.
On May 28, Leyte has recorded its first two (2) coronavirus cases in different areas (Baybay City and Tanauan), of which the two recorded cases were returning residents who were part of the Balik Probinsya program of the national government.