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Sara fumes at Leni over Davao surge in COVID-19 cases


Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte on Monday criticized Vice President Leni Robredo for saying that Davao has the most number of COVID-19 cases in the country and the local government should learn from what Cebu did when it had a surge.

In a statement, Duterte said Robredo should refrain from giving advice “if she knows nothing about what is happening on the ground.”

“This has been the hallmark of her term as VP, where she puts forth comments on matters and affairs she lacks understanding and knowledge on and does not offer anything helpful to solve a problem,” the presidential daughter added.

Robredo, in her radio program on Sunday,  expressed alarm over the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Davao

“Ang number one, Davao. Medyo nakaka-alarm ito kasi mas mataas siya kesa Quezon City. So the mere fact na mas mataas siya, mas alarming iyon kasi mas kaunti ang kanyang (Davao) population,” she said.

(Davao is number one. This is quite alarming because it is higher than Quezon City. The mere fact that the number of cases is higher is more alarming because Davao has smaller population than Quezon City.)

Malacañang earlier said it is wrong to compare Davao City with Quezon City in terms of latest average daily COVID-19 cases.

In early part of June, OCTA Research said Davao City has surpassed Quezon City in having the highest average number of daily COVID-19 cases.

The national government has placed Davao City under modified enhanced community quarantine from June 5 to 20 to stem the spread of the disease.

Despite the spike in the number of cases, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Davao is not the new “epicenter” of COVID-19. However, they “continue to closely monitor the situation in Davao City due to increasing cases.”

Robredo said Davao City should look at how Cebu addressed its COVID-19 problem.

“Makakatulong na tingnan kung anong ginawa sa Cebu. Kasi kung titingnan mo ngayon na nag-spike na, sa Cebu parang controlled, ‘di ba? Parang controlled and marami ang ginawa—ang partnership doon hindi lang talaga LGU pero very active doon ang medical community…So tingin ko ang mga lesson sa Cebu, ganoon din. Makakapulot ng aral ang Davao,” she added. 

(It would help if they would look at what Cebu did. It was able to control the spike through the partnership between the LGU and the medical community. Davao will learn a lesson from Cebu's experience.)

In response, Duterte said private sector has been very helpful and tremendously contributed to the COVID-19 response in the city.

“The VP should not attack the medical community of Davao City as being inactive when they have been silently suffering and working tirelessly to help save lives since March of last year,” she said.

She further said Robredo should open her eyes to the surge of cases in localities all around the world and she might be able to say that a surge in cases where 85% of the cases are asymptomatic is primarily identified by aggressive testing, coupled with tracing and isolation/quarantining.

The Davao mayor also said the Vice President should avoid involving the COVID-19 surge in Davao City in her alleged attempt at politicking.

“There will be a proper time to attack my performance as an LCE in this pandemic if she dares to run for President,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Palace double down on Mayor Duterte's accusations.

“We support the statement of Mayor Sara on this: that the Vice President should stop politicking. The Mayor will answer in due time. Let us wait for them to square-off,” said presidential spoeksperson Harry Roque.

Mayor Duterte also stated that if Robredo dared to run for President in 2022, that would be a time for the Vice President to criticize her competence as a local executive.

Roque, however, quickly qualified that the mayor's statement was not a confirmation that the President’s daughter would run for President in the 2022 polls.

“I cannot speak for the good mayor. I have no authority to interpret it for her,” said the President's spokesperson.

“A lot of people are wishing na that they settle the matter, but it is only mayor Sara who has the answer to that,” he added.

Barry Gutierrez, Robredo's spokesperson, denied that the Vice President is politicking saying that that latter is ready to help Davao City just like what she did in other areas.

"Si VP ang pilit hinahatak sa usapin ng pamumulitika habang ang buong focus niya nasa pagtulong. Sa Cebu, sa Tuguegarao, sa Palawan, sa napakarami pang ibang lugar— hindi ito photo op o tarp, hindi pabebe na picture kasama ang mga pulitikong may hawak sa mga lugar na ‘yun," he said in a press statement.

(It was VP who was being dragged into politics when all she do was help. She did this in Cebu, in Tuguegarao, in Palawan, and in many other areas—this was not just a photo opportunity with the politicians.)

"Pumunta si VP dun, nakinig sa mga tao sa ground, hinanap ang mga agaran pati na long-term na solusyon sa mga pinagdaraanan nila. Ever since ginagawa na ni VP ito. Tulong lang. Game si VP na gawin din ito sa Davao— unless pulitikahin na naman siya," he added.

(The VP went there, listened to the people on the ground, looked for immediate and long-term solutions. Eversince that is what the VP is doing. Just helping, She is ready to do this in Davao.)

Both Robredo and Duterte have been urged by their supporters to seek the highest elected post in the May 2022 national elections.Llanesca T. Panti/AOL, GMA News

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