Malacañang assured Ilonggos that help is coming their way as Iloilo City continued to see a spike in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas asked the national government to send more vaccines to his city to ease the surge.
In an interview in Pasay City on Wednesday, June 23, Roque said he has already spoken to Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez Jr. and the private sector about the call of the Iloilo City, especially with the arrival of Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to the country.
“Ang pangako ko naman po sa aking mga kapwa Ilonggo, help is forthcoming. Nakapag-usap na po tayo kay Secretary Galvez (I can assure my fellow Ilonggos that help is forthcoming. I have already spoken to Secretary Galvez),” he said.
“Nakapag-usap na rin tayo sa private sector dahil meron ding binili ang Iloilo (I already spoke with the private sector because they bought some vaccines). I understand that even some private companies will send Moderna vaccines to Iloilo where their businesses are located.
Meanwhile, Roque explained his controversial remark that the spike in COVID-19 cases was due to some people not following health protocols that earned the ire of Mayor Treñas.
According to Roque, his appeal to the public to continue following the “Mask, Hugas, Iwas” (Face mask, Handwashing, Physical Distancing) rule applies to the entire country.
“What I meant lang po talaga is bagama’t nandiyan na po ang bakuna, habang wala po tayong containment, wala pang population protection, wala pang alternative sa ‘Mask, Hugas, Iwas.’ (even though the vaccines are here, as long as we don’t have containment yet, no population protection, there is no alternative to ‘Mask, Hugas, Iwas’),” he said.
“Pero naintindihan po namin na ang mga surges ay dahil sa matitinding variant na in-experience din ng Metro Manila (But we understand that the surges are also because of the stronger COVID-19 variants, something that Metro Manila also experienced),” he added.
Roque reiterated that masking, handwashing, and physical distancing will remain to be the country’s main line of defense against COVID-19 and that he will never tire of reminding the public of the said slogan.
“Tama po (It’s true), the vaccine will give us, eventually, containment and population protection. But meanwhile, kinakailangan sa buong Pilipinas po ‘Mask, Hugas, Iwas,’ pa rin (the entire country should practice ‘Mask, Hugas, Iwas’).” he said.
“Siguro po nakakairita but it’s the truth… Miski batuhin na po ako ng tunay na bato, sasabihin ko pa rin po ‘yan (Perhaps it is really irritating but it’s the truth. Even though you hurl stones at me, I will keep on saying that),” he added.