We put the spotlight on our government leaders—whose jobs matter now more than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic
Graphics by Tricia Guevara
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought out the best and the worst in some of the country’s government leaders. Normally, we come out with a list of winners and losers for major sporting events but this time, we’re putting the spotlight on our government leaders who are all coming up with their own strategies to win the battle against the coronavirus.
The winning team consists of those who we think have surpassed expectations while the losing team is represented by those who we feel are underperforming and can still improve their game plan.
The mastermind behind providing bikes for frontliners and healthcare personnel in Pasig City, Vico Sotto has become the internet’s clear frontrunner for MVP. The Pasig City mayor has been praised for his proactive and unorthodox initiatives amid the pandemic, including distributing medical supplies around the city, installing sanitation tents on the entrances of the city hall and in two government hospitals, and even utilizing drones.
He faced some opposition though with his tricycle idea but the youngest mayor in local government seems to have brought hope for the new generation of government leaders, leaving a remarkable impression on many.
Kit Nieto emerged as Cainta’s defensive player of the year after his stellar run to protect the city right away. Mayor Nieto earned plus points, thanks to the blockbuster programs he pushed for the city, namely distributing food stubs for his constituents, providing vitamins to senior citizens, and offering milk rations for families with babies. Safe to say the city of Cainta is assured that their mayor will be prepared for the month-long lockdown.
Manila mayor Moreno has been in impeccable form since assuming office and his COVID-19 performance seems to be a clear winner among Manileños. He recently ordered hotels in the city to provide free lodging for frontliners who continue to work and serve the city. Possibly inspired by his Pasig counterpart’s moves, the 45-year-old mayor also deployed 189 e-trikes for Manila’s frontliners’ use.
Marikina mayor Marcy Teodoro put his name on the map after stepping up efforts for the city amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Teodoro’s talents were on full display as he implemented free transportation for citizens and even set up a molecular laboratory to get citizens tested starting Mar. 23.
Rex Gatchalian, the “silent” star mayor of Valenzuela, provided world-class facilities even before the nationwide lockdown took place. Days before COVID-19 consumed NCR, Valenzuela already installed two central isolation centers (in Balai Banyuhay and Valenzuela City Astrodome) with disinfected modular tents. One of the many impressive feats of the 41-year-old mayor was when he ordered all barangay officials to roam the city to give necessities like food to all families in need.
One government official who has been constantly criticized for years is former Presidential Communications Operations Office assistant secretary and now Overseas Workers Welfare Administration administrator Mocha Uson. And it’s no different this time.
Uson has been the subject of disdain for directing foul comments to government officials like Sotto, whom she called out for not abiding by the Department of the Interior and Local Government’s guidelines on public transport. But she later clarified her response. Instead of focusing on a game plan to defeat the coronavirus, Uson seems to be trash talking her own teammates. This is hard to watch.
Quezon City mayor Belmonte has been criticized by netizens for underperforming the past couple of days. Many believe that she hasn’t shown initiative in taking care of her citizens as there has been hardly any action in Quezon City the past few days. On top of that, the 50-year-old mayor is also being called out for placing her name on the distributed relief goods.
People who recorded and wrote President Duterte’s speech
Until today, the public still has no idea why the president arrived late to both his press conferences. To add insult to injury, it seems netizens were left with a whole lot of questions right after he delivered his speech. The logistics and the people behind the country’s vague lockdown rules and regulations took an L after their poor performances.
Las Piñas mayor Mel Agular was called out by netizens for slacking off after not being able to efficiently distribute enough relief goods on time, even gathering them in one place—which isn’t safe at a time when social distancing needs to be practiced.
“Walang namamatay sa gutom. Ang isang buwan, hindi ka pa mamatay,” said presidential spokesperson Panelo about the lockdown protocols being enforced in the country. Panelo is that player on the team who brings everyone down by saying the most absurd thing. (We see you Patrick Beverley). Even if he backtracked and clarified his statement, it was still insensitive.
Asymptomatic senators who used limited testing kits
Something the Philippines urgently needs right now are testing kits. Senators Tito Sotto, Imee Marcos, Pia Cayetano, Cynthia Villar, and Grace Poe have all reportedly been tested even if they were asymptomatic. This is not just unfair to the public (who need the kits the most) but also to the triage of the Department of Health. Those who need to be tested first are people who already have symptoms, not the privileged few.