Isko fires back at Roque: It isn’t politics to argue people need medicines, not face shields
MANILA, Philippines — Manila Mayor Isko Moreno on Wednesday fired back at Malacañang’s accusation that his call for more medicines instead of face shields was merely political bluster aimed at gaining more votes in the 2022 elections.
In an ambush interview, Moreno said he had no idea why his pronouncements were taken to be politically motivated when people needed medication more than face shields to combat COVID-19.
“Straight talk tayo. Ano ang mahalaga, ‘yong manawagan ka sa iyong pamahalaan na iyong inaasahan, ito po ang kailangan namin. What is offending there, what is politics there? Sinasabi lang naming mga mamamayan na gamot po ang kailangan namin, hindi face shield. Gamot, attorney, gamot ang kailangan ng tao,” Moreno told reporters.
(Let’s do straight talk. Isn’t it important to call on the government and tell them what is needed? What is offending there, what is politics there? We are only saying that we need are medicines, not face shields. We need medicines, attorney, people need medicines.)
Isko Moreno: "Ano ang mahalaga, ‘yong manawagan ka sa iyong pamahalaan iyong inaasahan, ito po ang kailangan namin, what is offending there, what is politics there? Sinasabi lang naming mga mamamayan gamot po ang kailangan namin hindi face shield."@inquirerdotnet pic.twitter.com/8yH2gWy6kd
— Gabriel P. Lalu (@GabrielLaluINQ) September 8, 2021
Without naming names, Moreno appeared to be alluding to presidential spokesman Harry Roque, who, reacting to the mayor’s pronouncement, said in his regular Palace briefing last Sept. 6 that the government had been anticipating such statements from a “candidate” with eyes on the 2022 elections.
“Kandidato rin ‘yan. Mark my word, hindi pa nag-aanunsyo ‘yan, pero sigurado akong kandidato,” Roque, a lawyer, said.
Rather than acknowledge the people’s cries, Moreno said the administration tends to dismiss them as mere nitpicking or, worse, as being deaf to them.
“Ang kailangan ng tao magtatag kayo ng ospital, isang taon — ayaw ko kayo turuan ng trabaho ninyo dahil ‘pag kayo’y napagsasabihan, kapag kayo’y binibigyan ng suhestyon, iniisip niyo pulitika. Hindi po to pulitika, bingi lang ho kayo,” he added.
(People need you to build hospitals, it has been a year — but I do not want to teach you about your jobs because when people make suggestions, you think of it as politicking. That’s not the case; you are only deaf to the people’s pleas.)
Moreno also reaffirmed his stand that COVID-19 patients should have been treated with remdesivir and tocilizumab because it can save lives, whereas plastic face shields cannot.
“If these medicine can save lives, then we should focus our little resources on things that can save lives, hindi face shield. Huwag na kayong makipag-kulitan sa akin. Walang bisa ang face shield, bakit ba ‘yan ang pinipilit niyo lagi? Gamot, gamot, gamot, gamot ang kailangan ng tao, umiiyak ang mga nanay, ‘yong anak nila severe, critical,” he further said.
(If these medicines can save lives, then we should focus our little resources on things that can save lives, not on face shields, please stop playing games with me. The face shields have no effect; why do you keep on insisting about it? People need medicines, medicines, medicines. Mothers are already crying because their children have severe infections, but we do not have medicines.)
“Tapos ito, pulitika? Eh talaga palang ang pinaniniwalaan niyo na lang ‘yong poon niyo. Ang pinaniniwalaan niyo na lang pala talaga sarili ninyo. Mukhang may mga hangin na kayo sa utak at naglolobohan ang mga utak niyo sa kapangyarihan,” he added.
(And then you claim this is politics? Maybe it’s true that you only believe your lord, that you only believe yourselves. It seems your heads are already full of air and they are inflated with power.)
He further likened administration officials to drug addicts.
“‘Wag ho kayong adik, tamang hinala po kayo eh. Baka akala yata nito sila lang ang matapang eh. O asan ang gamot, with all honesty?” he asked.
(Don’t be like drug addicts who are quick to rush to assumptions. Maybe you think you’re the only ones who are plucky. Where are the medicines, with all honesty?)
The mayor’s scathing statements were made on the sidelines of launching the Arroceros Park Redevelopment project.
Moreno has long been criticized for the face shield mandate, basing it on studies that wearing such would not help protect people from COVID-19.
He made the call for the government to buy more COVID-19 medicines and health equipment instead of face shields amid a COVID-19 surge spurred by the Delta variant, which saw hospitals getting filled to the brim while cases reached record highs.
Currently, the country has 158,637 active COVID-19 cases, after the Department of Health recorded 18,012 new infections on Tuesday. This comes on the heels of three straight days with over 20,000 new infections.
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