Bzzzzz: Economy, not Covid, worries Guv Gwen. 'Why does Dr. Leachon pick on Cebu?'... 'Tell-all' special session of Cebu City Council cancelled... One city councilor isolated on suspicion of Covid.

·3 min read

'Hunger is worse killer'

THE current talk on a new "surge" or "spike" of Covid-19 cases in Cebu does not, as journalists love to put it, faze Governor Gwen Garcia.

In a press-con Friday, January 29, the governor said Capitol's numbers in Cebu province show only 499 active cases, spread over 44 towns and six cities, most of whom are asymptomatic, among a population of 3.1 million.

Guv Gwen wondered aloud why Dr. Tony Leachon picks on Cebu cases, raising the alarm without the context of its population and its critical care system: 499 cases among 3.1 million people and with hospital-clinics occupancy of Covid patients at less than 20 percent.

We can manage and will manage Covid, the governor said. She said the mayors are ready and prepared for any new increase of cases.

More worrisome is Cebu's economy. "We need to restore it so that people won't die of hunger." No Cebuano has died on the street because of Covid, she said. "Ug dunay mokirig, tungod sa gutom." Hunger is the killer, not Covid.

Leachon is not exactly well-liked in government circles. In June 2020, he was "forced to resign" as special adviser to the National Task Force on Covid-19, after two Cabinet officials were "displeased when he publicly revealed gaps the government's measures against the pandemic. He had criticized the Department of Health, saying it had "lost focus" on its priorities in the Covid response.

Well, the governor has a thing to say about his comments on the Cebu situation: Leachon should have "a sense of scale and proportion."

Leachon said when he was fired as adviser to Covid chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr.: "I was asked time and again not to speak about my independent views but I think it would be helpful to the country..."

Well, this time, not to Cebu, or so the governor thinks.

Speakers not available

The Cebu City Council special session, scheduled for Friday, January 29, which Vice Mayor Mike Rama had strongly pushed in a privileged speech during its regular session last Wednesday, was cancelled.

A councilor told SunStar that retired general Melquiades Feliciano, the main resource person -- whom Rama billed as the "tell-all" speaker on the pandemic situation in the city -- was not available. The source didn't say if the other principal guest, City Administrator Floro Casas Jr., was.

Feliciano, as IATF implementer for the Visayas and having worked hands-on with the city's Emergency Operations Center, is familiar with the measures adopted by the city. And Casas, as city manager, knows intimately what the executive department has been doing about the health problem.

Councilor Noel Archival wanted "somebody from the mayor's office" at the special session so the councilors would know what the executive department is doing about Covid and the mayor's office would know what the City Council is proposing to be done.

Minority Floor Leader Raymond Garcia was repeatedly asked by Mike Rama to "bring Casas," famously known to have shunned appearances at the Sanggunian. Councilor Raymond must be glad over -- or have something to do with -- the cancellation as that Friday happened to be his birthday.

Illness at City Council

In last Wednesday's Sanggunian session, in the course of the roll call, secretary Atty. Charisse Piramide disclosed that a councilor, whom she named, was being isolated as precautionary measure against possible Covid.

City Hall people know who the councilor is.


Tell us about it.