‘I will do it again’: Cayetano gets flak over special session ‘gimmick’
MANILA, Philippines — Smarting from the bashing that he got in social media, Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Tuesday said that he is ready to hold a sign for frontliners all over again, if it would get people to read and stay home, amid the threat of the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“If you ask me to hold up a sign again, and even if the sign curses at me but it gets people to read and gets people to stay home, I will do it again and again and again,” Cayetano said, as he brushed off the severe criticism he and some legislators got from netizens.
On Monday’s special session on coronavirus response, Cayetano and Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, as well as several members of the House of Representatives, posed for a photo while holding a poster with the message: “Together with doctors and frontliners, we went to work for you, so please stay home for us.”
The photo opportunity, however, did not sit well with critics, who labeled it as a mere “gimmickry” at the expense of the true frontliners against COVID-19, while their photos spawned numerous memes in social media.
In a speech he delivered in the late hours of the special session, Cayetano said that the legislators who attended the special session only wanted to emphasize to the public the importance of staying in their own homes as the pandemic continues to threaten the country.
“Tayo pong mga kongresista, there’s no doubt: whatever happens, trabaho nating pumunta dito (We congressmen, there is no doubt: Whatever happens, it is our job to come here)… But what about the staff to my right? The staff to my left? The staff that is in the lounge? The guards that are outside? What’s P8,000 or P15,000 to them now when they can lose their life by getting infected? We’re doing this because, we have to do it because, with lack of knowledge, people die,” he said.
“We meant well. Now if people will criticize us for meaning well, as long as alam natin tama ang ating ginagawa (as long as we know what we’re doing is right, that’s alright),” he added.
In an earlier Facebook live, the House leader further admitted that they knew full well that they could never measure up to the sacrifices being done by health professionals at the frontline.
“No, we’re not comparing ourselves to the frontliners. Hats off kami, malayo (It’s not a similar comparison). Ang mga frontliners (Our frontliners), every single second they’re risking their lives. Kaya nga kami (That’s why), we are just extending the message, stay home,” he said.
With the burgeoning number of COVID-19 cases, government has implemented an enhanced community quarantine all over Luzon for a month which restricts the public to their homes so as to flatten the curve of cases, and to help health caregivers get some leeway in treating hundreds of positive patients.
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