Pampanga governor: Don’t ask about coronavirus patients’ barangays
PAMPANGA, Philippines – Governor Dennis Pineda took up the cudgels for his Lubao hometown, telling residents to just pray for persons infected with the novel coronavirus instead of “forcing” the municipal government to disclose the villages where the patients live.
“Sana po, nakikiusap ako, tigilan na po natin ang pagpu-puwersa natin sa mga LGUs natin na i-reveal ang barangay at pangalan ng mga tao,” Pineda said in a video posted by the Pampanga Provincial Information Office’s Facebook page on Friday afternoon, April 17.
(I'm asking you, please stop forcing our local government units to reveal patients' barangays and names.)
The governor was referring to the barrage of queries made by many netizens since the provincial government posted about one confirmed case of COVID-19 in Lubao town on April 2. Their questions were posted on the municipal and provincial governments’ respective Facebook pages.
Restlessness among Lubao residents increased after two more coronavirus cases were recorded on April 9 and April 13, resulting in a greater demand to know the barangays where the patients live.
By nighttime of April 13, the “Bayan ng Lubao” Facebook page was deactivated, leaving questions from townsfolk unanswered and compelling them to direct their demands for basic information on COVID-19 patients to the provincial government's Facebook page.
At 3:37 pm on Friday, the Pampanga PIO posted Pineda’s video in response.
“Nakikiusap ako sa inyo, wala pong maitutulong na i-reveal namin ang pangalan sa inyo. First, kung ibibigay namin ang pangalan sa inyo, para ano ho? Alam na ho ng regional, alam na namin sa provincial, alam ng municipal at alam ng barangay pero hindi para i-announce, especially sa social media, ang mga pangalan po ng mga tinamaan ng COVID-19,” he said.
(I'm telling you, nothing will come of us revealing their names to you. First, even if we do give you the names, what will you do with them? The regional, provincial, municipal, and barangay officials already know the names, but they're not for them to announce, especially on social media.)
“Tutuusin nga po, pati barangay hindi po natin dapat na i-announce. Bakit? Kasi ang nagiging dahilan po, humihingi kayo ng mga pangalan ng mga barangay, para saan? Para maiwasan po daw kung anong barangay, makaiwas kayo. Transparency? If you’re talking about transparency, everyday naka-post po ang mga per municipality natin, kung sino po ang may mga apektadong municipality. If you’re talking about barangay level, for what reason na kailangan nyo pang malaman?” he added.
(If you think about it, we shouldn't even announce their barangays. Why? What do you need to know their barangays for? You say it's so you can avoid these barangays. Transparency? If you're talking about transparency, we post about which municipalities are affected every day. If you're talking about the barangay level, for what reason do you need to know?)
The governor advised his constituents to just treat everyone, even their neighbors, as COVID-19 patients, stay home, and pray for those who have actually contracted the viral disease.
Past 4 pm the same day, Lubao’s Facebook page went online again and posted Pineda’s video.
Several netizens were quick to respond to the post by clarifying that they had been asking only for the barangays where COVID-19 patients’ live, and not their identities.
“People are not asking about the names, just their barangays,” a netizen clarified in the vernacular.
“Yes, not their names because that’s confidential, only barangay,” said another.
“Wala pong names na hinihingi, kung anong barangay lang ho like other LGU nagbibigay ng number per barangay. Bakit sa Lubao hindi nyo magawa?” another asked.
(We're not asking for names, just for their barangays. Other LGUs give the barangay's numbers; why can't Lubao do the same?)
The netizens were referring to the daily updates being made by cities and municipalities in Pampanga that show the number of COVID-19 infected persons in every barangay, including the number of persons being monitored and investigated for the virus. Even all the other provinces and most cities and municipalities in Central Luzon have been showing the basic information of cases in their territories, particularly the city or town, barangay, gender, and age of the patients.
Only the province of Pampanga and the municipality of Lubao refuse to provide their constituents with such basic information about COVID-19 cases.
As of Friday, the Department of Health has recorded 5 COVID-19 cases in Lubao. The patients include two men and 3 women. The oldest is 70 years old while the youngest is 27. Information from the Department of Health shows that 3 of the patients were admitted to hospitals. It was not mentioned if the two other infected persons were admitted to hospitals or whether they were on home quarantine.
As of Sunday, the Philippines has 6,259 cases of the coronavirus, with 409 deaths and 572 recoveries. – Rappler.com