Roque says ‘still friends’ with Iloilo City’s Treñas after verbal clash
MANILA, Philippines — Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque on Wednesday said he is still friends with Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas even after the local chief executive chided him for his remarks over the city’s compliance with health protocols and COVID-19 vaccine supply.
Roque said he has talked to Treñas and that their friendship remains despite the exchange.
“Of course. My mother is from Jaro. I’m an Ilonggo,” he said in a text message when asked if the two of them are okay and still friends.
Treñas earlier asked the national government for more doses of COVID-19 vaccines in order to stem the surge of infection in Iloilo City, to which Roque answered that the surges in provinces were not due to the lack of vaccine supply but to lowered compliance on health protocols and more infectious variants.
Treñas then, in a television interview, blasted Roque for blaming Iloilo citizens for the surge, saying the Palace official’s mouth works faster than his brain.
“OK naman si Harry but minsan, mas mabilis ang bunganga sa utak,” the mayor said in an interview over One News PH on Tuesday.
(Harry is okay but sometimes his mouth is faster than his brain.)
“Ang masakit pa, tumataas ang kaso namin, kami pa ang may kasalanan. Ano ba ‘yan? Hindi naman tama ‘yan…There is this virus that is going around,” he added.
(What is even hurtful is our cases are rising and we are faulted. What is that? That’s not right. There is this virus that is going around.)
In a press briefing on Wednesday, Roque said there is no alternative to following public health protocols such as wearing face masks and face shields, physical distancing, and washing of hands while the Philippines has yet to contain the spread of COVID-19 or achieve population protection via vaccination of the majority of the population.
He said he did not single out Iloilo and that his advice “is something I have to say to everyone.”
“Bagamat nandyan ang bakuna, habang wala pang containment, wala pang population protection, wala pa rin alternative sa mask-hugas-iwas,” he said.
(While we have the vaccines, as long as there is no containment yet, no population protection, there is no alternative to following public health protocols.)
“That is something I have to say to everyone. Siguro nakakairita but it’s the truth: habang wala pa tayong containment, mask-hugas-iwas pa rin,” he added.
(That is something I have to say to everyone. Maybe it’s irritating but it’s the truth. While we have no containment yet, we still have to follow health protocols.)
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