“IT was a meeting, not a party.”
This was what lawyer Jose Daluz III, chairman of the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD), and Cebu City Councilor Raymond Alvin Garcia said regarding a video of a gathering of people that circulated online on June 5, 2020.
This was hours after the protest held at University of the Philippines Cebu which led to the arrest of seven protesters.
Netizens feasted on the video, which they believed was a birthday party held at the MCWD hall and attended by public officials.
Daluz said Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella asked him if the City can use the MCWD hall for a meeting with the barangay officials, the mayor’s information and liaison officers (Milo) and other officials, including the Department of Health (DOH) Central Visayas Director Jaime Bernadas.
Daluz responded to the mayor’s request, since the MCWD hall is big enough to accommodate a number of people, while observing the social distancing.
He said that after his meeting as chairman of the MCWD board of directors, he went to the hall where the meeting called by Labella was held and when he arrived, Bernadas was giving an update to the officials present.
He said the mayor also prepared lunch for the attendees.
“It’s just that there was lunch served. The mayor even prepared a lechon,” said Daluz. “Dili to tapok nga party,” he said.
Garcia said they listened to Bernadas’ updates on Covid-19. “It was a gathering since it was a meeting,” he added.
Labella also thanked the barangay officials and Milo for their active participation in the City’s fight against the crisis, he added. He assured that health protocol was observed by attendees.
Barangay officials under the Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan said they were not invited to the meeting.
Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) President and Kasambagan Barangay Captain Franklyn Ong only learned that there was a meeting when he saw a post in social media.
ABC Vice President and Labangon Barangay Captain Victor Buendia said he was not also aware of the meeting called by the City. / JJL