Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez on Monday expressed his frustration over the huge number of locally stranded individuals seen packed at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex for the national government’s Hatid Tulong program.
Interviewed on Dobol B sa News TV, Gomez said he wrote an open letter urging President Rodrigo Duterte to fire whoever organized the program for “incompetence, insensitivity and disregard of public health.”
“Sabi ko [sa open letter ko], kung sinuman nag-organize nito, you really have to fire him for incompetence, for insensitivity and for disregard of public health,” Gomez said.
“Nasa pandemic tayo tapos kami nasa gobyerno lagi namin sinasabi na magsuot ka ng mask mo, maghugas ka ng kamay, lumayo ka sa mga tao, mag-social distancing ka, stay at home. And then makikita mo sa diyaryo na ganoon karaming tao nagsama-sama, nagdikit-dikit silang lahat. That’s more than 4,000 people in just one area,” he stressed.
Gomez said the organizer had been negligent, noting that the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex is a big area and the organizer should have maximized it and should have not have placed all of the LSIs in just one area.
“Mayroon naman sila plano pero ang nakita ko dito is wala silang contigency plan. Alam mo ‘yong gagawa ka ng plano, alam mo kung ano ‘yong gagawin eh, alam mo ‘yong vision mo pero wala kang contingency plan. Papaano kung may dumating na sobra? Paano kung biglang umulan?” he asked.
“Ang concern ko doon is puwede naman iwasang magdikit-dikit ‘yong mga tao doon para maiwasan ‘yong magkahawaan.”
According to Presidential Management Staff Assistant Secretary Joseph Encabo, around eight to nine LSIs who gathered at the facility over the weekend have tested positive for COVID-19 following rapid tests.
In May, Gomez lamented the supposed lack of coordination in sending the repatriated overseas Filipino workers to their home provinces.
After being free of COVID-19 for most of the time since parts of the country were placed on community quarantine in March, Ormoc City was tagged in late June as one of the emerging hotspots in the spread of COVID-19 in the Visayas region.
Gomez said this developed after the national government started bringing hundreds, including locally stranded individuals, back to their home provinces.
Ormoc City announced its first COVID-19 case on June 5, an individual who tested negative in Manila but tested positive in the city. The cases increased as more returned. —KBK, GMA News