Pateros Mayor Miguel “Ike” Ponce III defended his controversial policy to put yellow ribbons on houses of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)-positive individuals and their close contacts.
Houses of COVID-19 patients and their close contacts are put under granular lockdown for 14 days in Pateros.
He said putting yellow ribbons on these houses is meant for easy identification and not meant to discriminate against anyone.
“This is voluntary because we always respect the privacy of each individual. If you refuse, it will not be forced on you,” he said in a live broadcast on Facebook Monday.
He said the use of yellow ribbon has no “political undertone” as it is the only one available in the municipal government’s warehouse.
The mayor said the person who refuses to have his house tagged with a yellow ribbon will not be punished or fined.
“The truth is, those who get COVID-19 should not be discriminated against as the disease is widespread already. Mayors who get COVID-19 even announce it,” he said.
Ponce said having COVID-19 now is just like getting a fever especially that almost all Pateros residents are now fully vaccinated.
“Don’t be worried about discrimination. Being your mayor, definitely I won’t discriminate you. I will be the first to defend you. I will never discriminate against you,” he said.
The mayor said people should openly talk about COVID-19, saying, “We want to stop the spread of COVID-19. Let us come out into the open. Let us understand what COVID is. Let us accept it.”
“Let us shout to the world na nagkaroon ako para iwasan n’yo ako. Wala hong problema ‘yon. Wala nang problema sa tao iyon. Hindi na po nakakahiyang magkaroon ng COVID ngayon. Maski noon hindi naman po nakakahiya. (Let us shout to the world that I have it so you can avoid me. That is not a problem. It no longer matters to people. It is no longer shameful to have COVID nowadays. It was not shameful even before),” said Ponce.
He added, “Kaya siguro wala din pong nakakahiya kung itutuloy natin yung ginagawa po nating paglalagay ng tanda sa mga bahay para mabilis po nating matapos ito (Maybe there is no shame if we continue what we are doing by putting tags on houses in order for us to end this immediately). Let us work together to find the solution and let us stop COVID.”