MANILA - Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte on Thursday acknowledged online criticisms over her decision not to suspend classes in the city despite heavy rains.
In a Facebook post, Belmonte said she could have asked Quezon City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office chief Michael Marasigan more probing questions about the weather forecast before making the decision not to suspend classes before 4 a.m.
"To all my bashers, this time I welcome all the hate and the vileness of your messages. I truly deserve it...I bow to you and I admit to my weaknesses and shortcomings in this situation," said Belmonte, who made the announcement on behalf of Mayor Herbert Bautista.
Mayor Bautista is in Yokohama, Japan until Friday as a panel speaker at the 9th International Forum for Sustainable Asia and the Pacific.
Belmonte later revised her post and addressed it to "concerned citizens."
In an earlier Facebook post, the vice-mayor said she and Marasigan had been up all night monitoring the weather forecast in order to make an informed decision about the class suspension. The local government had earlier said it will announce its decision whether or not to suspend classes by 4 a.m., based on the latest PAGASA advisory.
"I expect we will be bashed to death later by the public, simply because one cannot please everyone. Earlier Myke (DRRMO's Michael Marasigan) asked me if we should just be politicians - declare no classes like everybody else - then go to bed and sleep soundly. But later we decided that even if we risk our careers, we need to, in good faith, try to do the right thing," she said in an interview on radio DZMM.
Netizens earlier took to social media to air their complaints on the official announcement that classes are not suspended in Quezon City while other cities have already suspended classes.
In her latest Facebook post, Belmonte said delaying the 4 a.m. deadline on announcements of class suspensions, which is a national policy, would have given her additional time to receive the latest weather advisories.
The vice mayor gave a salute to the QC's barangay disaster officials, particularly in flood-prone Sta. Lucia and Doña Imelda, who declared class suspensions.
She also lauded parents who made their own judgments and did not send their children to school as heavy rains poured in over Metro Manila early morning.
"Sometimes we in government depend too much on data and statistics and not enough on gut feel. And you did the right thing. I salute you," she said.
She added: "Now it is time to make amends to our children and their parents. It's time to step up for them. They deserve much better than me. They deserve a better leader."
Belmonte said the city's DRRMC will make the announcement through official channels.