Roque ponders about broadcasting ‘entire segment’ of IATF meeting when he lost his cool
MANILA, Philippines — Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque on Tuesday said he is thinking about making public the part where he lost his cool during a meeting of the government’s pandemic task force as he insisted he was not undermining efforts of health workers.
Roque recently faced fierce criticism after a video obtained by the Inquirer showed him raising his voice on doctors for opposing the planned shift to granular lockdowns and calling for a retained hard lockdown or enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) over Metro Manila.
“Lilinawin ko lang po na talagang ang aking mensahe lang noon, doon sa meeting na dapat confidential at hindi dapat isasapubliko, ay kinakailangan ikunsidera rin po yung mga kapakanan ng mga manggagawa na matagal nang walang hanapbuhay,” Roque said in a press briefing.
(I want to clear up that my message in the meeting that was supposed to be confidential was that we should consider workers who have lost their livelihoods.)
“Pero hindi po natin kahit kailanman inisip na we are undermining yung kabayanihan ng ating mga medical frontliners. In fact, iniisip ko nga po kung dapat i-broadcast yung buong segment kung saan ako nagsalita dahil napakaliit po nung porsyento na pinakita,” he added.
(But never have I thought about undermining the heroism of our medical frontliners. In fact, I’m thinking about broadcasting the segment where I talked about it because what was shown was only a small portion.)
In a video recording of a portion of the meeting, Roque was heard saying: “We employed the ‘entire government approach’ thinking about economic ramifications, thinking about the people (who) will go hungry. It does not mean that we care any less.”
“And let me point out to everyone, this group, they have never said anything good about the government response,” he also said.
The Palace official admitted he got emotional and has since apologized for the manner he delivered his message, but claimed he was only trying to speak on behalf of those experiencing hunger due to lockdowns.
Meanwhile, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año reportedly said that while Roque had a valid argument during the meeting, the problem was the manner it was delivered.
Sought to react to Año’s statement, Roque said: “I’ll make it very clear. I don’t have to react to all statements. People are entitled to their opinions. That’s how a democracy works.”
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