Duterte lauds Tugade anew for being an ‘ideal government worker’
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Roa Duterte commended the able leadership of Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Art Tugade anew and regarded the transportation chief as “an ideal government worker” during his latest “Talk to the People” on Monday night, 24 January 2022.
The remarks came as Duterte convened with several Cabinet members and government officials, including Tugade, to discuss the developments on the COVID-19 situation in the country and other issues of national concern.
Highlights of Tugade’s report involved the updates on the actions taken by the DOTr and the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) to address the needs of stranded passengers and children at the Manila Port. He also announced another positive development that would help Filipino seafarers amid the financial woes brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Upon learning that over a hundred passengers, including children, bound for Zamboanga and Dumaguete were stranded at the Manila port, Tugade immediately called for a meeting with transport officials and ordered to resolve the issue.
“Una, kailangan itong mga stranded children na ito ay mapauwi sa lalong madaling panahon. Pangalawa, kailangan magtayo tayo ng onsite vaccination facilities nang sa gayon ‘yung walang vaccination ay agarang mabigyang pagkakataon,” Tugade said.
The said stranded passengers were not allowed to enter the port due to the absence of a vaccination card, pending S-Pass approval, and no RT-PCR test results, which is a requirement of the receiving LGU.
Heeding Tugade’s directive, PPA and other concerned agencies have provided immediate and necessary assistance, such as giving free meals, snacks, water, and sleeping kits. The Social Welfare Department also provided financial assistance amounting to P5,000 to families. Meanwhile, the Manila LGU also vaccinated 54 Badjao passengers.
The DOH-NCR coordinated with their counterpart in Zamboanga to allow antigen test results instead of RT-PCR for returning residents. Following the approval of the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (CDRRMO), 101 passengers were tested for COVID-19 and turned out negative. They were then allowed to enter the port’s terminal for boarding.
Meanwhile, apart from the immediate action to help stranded passengers, Tugade also announced the decision of the MARINA Board to give the seaman’s book to first-time seafarers for free and grant a 50% discount to those who will renew.
“‘Yung mga first time seamen na kukuha ng Seamen’s Book – ang halaga nito 1,000 to 1,800, depende kung saan mo kukunin – libre na ‘ho ‘yun. Dito sa termino n’yo, Mr. President, para tulong sa mga seamen, ‘pag kinuha na nila ang Seamen’s Certificate for the first time, libre na ho ‘yun,” Tugade announced.
Citing the positive report of Tugade, Duterte expressed his compliments to the transportation chief.
“Salamat, Art. You are an ideal worker of government. Maganda yung resolve mo to produce results sa trabaho mo. Sayang hindi ka tumakbo ng Senador. Madagdagan sana yung magaganda yung utak na (gaya mo), (kaso) ayaw mo eh,” Duterte said.