QC's Belmonte hits complaints of 'slow' COVID-19 response


Posted at Mar 20 2020 03:43 PM

MANILA - Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte on Thursday scorned those who criticized her government's alleged "slow" distribution of aid for residents affected by the month-long Luzon coronavirus lockdown, saying those who "hate" her are not obliged to accept any of her projects.

Some Quezon City residents earlier complained on social media that their villages have yet to receive aid from the city government after losing their sources of income for at least a month under a lockdown meant to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). 

Others compared Belmonte's alleged inaction to the quick COVID-19 response programs of mayors in other metro cities such as Pasig's Vico Sotto, Makati's Abigail Binay, and Valenzuela's Rex Gatchalian.

"To those who hate me, you are under no obligation to accept any of my projects - housing, education, healthcare, social benefits. That means there will be more for those who truly have faith in me as their leader," Belmonte said in a Facebook post.

"But please just show your hatred for me at the polls in 2022 because the people who want to be served and patiently wait for it don’t deserve for their lives and that of their families to be politicized," she said, hinting that she intends to run for reelection in the next polls.

Belmonte said Quezon City ordered some 400,000 food packs from suppliers a day after President Rodrigo Duterte placed Luzon under an enhanced community quarantine on Tuesday midnight, but added that suppliers "were overwhelmed by the volume" of transactions.

"We are slow? I think perhaps the suppliers were overwhelmed by the volume we were ordering and could not comply immediately," the Quezon City mayor said, noting that the local government ordered canned goods and basic necessities for some 2 million people.

Quezon City is the largest and most populated city in Metro Manila, with an estimated population of 2.9 million. 

Communities were not left without resources even while the city's order for supplies was delayed, Belmonte said.

"The barangays [have been] using their Quick Response Funds released because we were the very first city to declare a State of Calamity," she said.

"I don’t have a plan? That was the plan... [The calamity fund] would be used to support our constituents for the first week since I already knew that a volume of goods for 2M (million) people would take time to arrive," she said.

Belmonte ended her tirade by thanking her "few" supporters and local government workers who have been helping repack goods for relief operations in the city.

"To the few who still believe in me, I told you I would never let you down and I won’t," she said.

"I will fight for you, until together we vanquish this virus. Just as you fought for me when all the people who don’t understand how I work and think abandoned and denigrated me," she said.

Luzon was placed on a lockdown earlier this week after health officials said isolating possible carriers of COVID-19 may help curb the spread of the disease to other parts of the Philippines.

As of March 19, 217 patients in the Philippines tested positive for COVID-19. Seventeen died, 8 recovered, while the rest are still battling the disease.

In Quezon City, 29 cases have been recorded in 22 barangays, making up 25 percent of the total infections in Metro Manila.