The government should consider appointing a Cebuano to work with Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu in addressing the COVID-19 situation in Cebu City, Senate President Vicente Sotto III proposed on Tuesday, June 30.
Sotto said a local representative will help the government deliver and make residents understand its programs to mitigate the surge in coronavirus infections.
“I think they should or maybe a representative in Cebu that comes from Cebu. Mayroon mentality kung minsan ang mga Cebuano na ‘pag galing sa Maynila medyo aloof. (We Cebuanos have some sort of mentality that when we are aloof when it comes to people from from Manila). I have to be very blunt about it — ganoon talaga kaming mga Cebuano. (We Cebuanos are really like that),” said the Senate chief, whose paternal family hails from Cebu City.
“Pag galing sa Maynila ang darating at mag-uutos doon, medyo nakataas ang kilay ng karamihan ng Cebuano (Cebuanos might raise their eyebrows on a person from Manila giving them orders). Pero ‘pag taga-roon sa kanila, mas madaling tanggapin kung ano ‘yong talagang gusto namin doon (But if the authority was from there, the measures would be easier to accept),” he added.
Sotto was quick to clarify that Cimatu was doing a “good job” and he has no problem with him being designated to oversee the enforcement of health and quarantine protocols in the city.
But he believed that a local who “knows the terrain” might help in implementing the government’s programs. He said a Cebuano from the Interagency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases could be tapped to assist Cimatu.
He also pitched Erik Miguel Espina, a former Cebu City councilor and an army reservist Brigadier General, as a possible representative for the city.
“Dapat meron ding taga-Cebu na parang counterpart, tulong, at nakakaalam (There should be someone from Cebu who would act as a counterpart, or to assist, and knows the city well),” Sotto said.
Sotto said he was “very much concerned” with the situation in Cebu as he, too, attributed the spike of COVID-19 cases to its residents’ supposed complacency and refusal to heed government policies.
“Complacent and hard-headedness is a combination. We could probably say it’s combination of the both — ‘yong iba ayaw sumunod, matitigas ang ulo, ‘yong iba naman complacent, ‘Wala naman sa amin ‘yan, eh’, parang ganon (other really do disobey and were hard-headed, while other are complacent, like ‘It’s nothing to us’),” he said.
“But is everything is well-explained and everyone is well-informed, palagay ko mas tatanggapin ng Cebuano (I think the Cebuanos will accept them),” he stressed.
Sotto said he would raise his proposal to Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.