MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte said Thursday night he doesn’t object with Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez’s policy over returning residents, but insisted they should be allowed to return home.
“I don’t have any quarrel with Richard Gomez. He was the one who said that he’s not going to accept anybody from entering or leaving the place. Okay man lang ‘yan. It’s part of, maybe the vigilance that a person knows in his heart on how to do it,” he said in a briefing.
He added, “But you know there are also constitutional issues that are involved. Those are sacred ones. For those who are not really pronounced to be infected, positive, there’s no reason why you should not accept them, especially those returning to their homes from doing work abroad. Kawawa naman kasi.”
In his speech, the President hailed Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.
“He’s a very good administrator, being a military man. He knows how to craft a government that is really fit for your jurisdiction,” he said.
Gomez expressed frustration this week over the lack of proper coordination by the national government on returning residents.
“We have no problem accepting all these balikbayan people. Of course, we want them back in our city. But hindi naman 'to leisure, hindi naman 'to pasyal eh. You know, we are in a pandemic, so we really have to be very, very careful,” Gomez said on ANC's Headstart.
“It is important for us to receive all these people documented so we will know where they are coming from, if they've been tested, if they had been quarantined,” he added.
Gomez stressed the need for the strict implementation of protocols to avoid the spread of COVID-19 in Ormoc City, which has a population of more than 200,000.