DAVAO CITY, Davao del Sur, Philippines —A close friend of President Rodrigo Duterte earlier rumored to be in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of a hospital here allegedly for coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) after having been exposed to a cockfighting derby broke his silence to tell the world he was well.
Davao businessman Sammy Uy said he was merely on quarantine after having been in contact with a suspected person under investigation (PUI).
“I would like to thank everyone who reached out and expressed their concern to me and my family,” Uy said in a message posted on the group account of the Davao United Gamefowl Breeders Association (Dugba). “I am aware that messages have been going around involving my name and a few others who are allegedly carriers of the COVID-19 virus and that I have already been admitted, and in the ICU of a private hospital,” wrote Uy. “Rest assured, I am at home with my family and have been adhering to government protocols regarding the community quarantine.”
The message, along with a picture of Uy in a brown shirt, holding up his phone which read, “8:50, Sunday, March 29,” to prove that it was current, was posted by another cockfighting afficionado and Dugba member Emmanuel Eva.
Uy was reported to be one of the cockfighting big names at the New Davao Matina Gallera on March 6-13 for the six-cock derby that had gathered thousands of people at the time when the country was grappling under the clutch of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mayor Sara Duterte had stopped the derby a day short for its March 14 grand event, after President Duterte placed the entire Metro Manila under community quarantine to stop the spread of the virus.
A poster of the derby circulating on social media dangled a P26 million grand prize for an entry fee of P100,000 and a minimum bet of P11,000.
The gallery owner who hosted the derby was reported to be among those who died of flu-like symptoms seven days after the event.
“It is true that I was in contact with a suspected PUI last March 12, and therefore I voluntarily submitted myself to self-quarantine.,” Uy said. “It has been more than two weeks since, and thank God, I have not shown any symptoms of the disease.”
He also said these were very trying times and advised the public against spreading unverified information.
“Instead, let us focus on staying safe and cooperating with the authorities so we can put an end to this pandemic soon,” he said.
He also expressed admiration for medical frontliners who had to sacrifice their lives to save others.
“Never has so much been owed by so many to so few,” he said in the message.
Uy, whose friendship with the President goes back to the time when Duterte was still the mayor of Davao City, surprised reporters back in 2017 when the President brought him to what was supposed to be a heads of state meeting in Tokyo with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Duterte later admitted that Uy had been among those who contributed funds to his campaign.