'Set aside politics' to protect Cebuano lives, says Cimatu rep
MANILA, Philippines – One of the ways to improve Cebu City's response to its growing coronavirus infections is for all local officials there to come together, said a representative of Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu.
Environment Undersecretary Benny Antiporda, on Saturday, June 27, said this was among Cimatu's findings when he flew to Cebu City after being delegated by President Rodrigo Duterte to oversee pandemic efforts there.
"Ang importante po talaga is 'yung pagkakaisa po at isang galaw ng bawat lider po diyan para hindi po malito ang taongbayan (What's important is that the actions of each leader is unified so that the people are not confused)," he said in a virtual press briefing.
"What we see now is the concerted effort of all is the solution. We know that there are many political issues there so that's the first solution being proposed by our Secretary," Antiporda said in Filipino.
Asked to elaborate on the "political issues," he said: "There are no definite political issues. It's just that, you can see in the Cebu situation that there is no coordination. The actions at the barangay level to the provincial government aren't a whole."
"Isantabi muna 'yung usaping political kung 'di magsama-sama muna para maligtas 'yung mga buhay ng ating mga kababayan sa Cebu (Set aside politics first and come together to save lives of our fellow countrymen in Cebu)," Antiporda said.
Cimatu is expected to hand on Monday his recommendation to Duterte on what quarantine classification to impose on Cebu City after June 30.
June 30 is supposed to be the last day of the city's enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
Antiporda also took the opportunity to defend Cimatu against claims that he booked 70 rooms at the upscale Seda Hotel in Cebu City and racked up a huge bill for staying there for a week.
He said this was not true. Cimatu had stayed for only two days and did not have a big entourage, he said.
"For the information of everybody, Secretary Cimatu only stayed for two days and he was only accompanied by his aide," said Antiporda.
The underesecretary said these "rumors" were designed to destroy the credibility of Cimatu.
'Medical, not military, solutions'
Meanwhile in Cebu, the Alyansa sa mga Mamumuo sa Sugbo-Kilusang Mayo Uno (AMA Sugbo-KMU) backed calls for “medical, scientific, and pro-people” solutions to address Cebu City's coronavirus outbreak.
“If Cimatu, Año, and the IATF are truly concerned for the rapidly increasing cases of COVID-19 in Cebu City, then the forces that should be increased are the medical personnel and professionals –doctors, nurses, health workers, and not the police and military,” said AMA Sugbo-KMU chairperson Jaime Paglinawan.
“The virus will not be killed by increased police and military force in the guise of implementing a ‘strict lockdown.’ To solve the crisis, what the people truly need are mass testing; additional and functioning isolation centers, hospital beds, and other medical facilities; free treatment for those who have tested positive for the virus; and food subsidies for areas in lockdown,” he added.
The coalition also echoed the appeal of the Cebu Medical Society for more support for healthcare professionals in Cebu.
“The Cebu Medical Society has expressed that, in order to boost the morale of nurses and staff, the correct PPE sets and hazard or additional pay should be provided so that they will have enough courage to go back to work,” Paglinawan said.
Cebu City has more than 5,000 coronavirus cases. Nationwide, the number is at 34,073 as of Friday, June 26. – Rappler.com