The League of Provinces of the Philippines on Monday denounced what it described as “libelous, irresponsible, reckless and utterly false statement” made by a medical team leader of Project ARK (antibody rapid test kits) during the nation address of President Rodrigo Duterte last May 26.
LPP National President, Gov. Presbitero Velasco Jr. of Marinduque, said the sweeping allegation made by Dr. Ma. Dominga “Minguita” Padilla of Project ARK had unjustly maligned the local government units, which “have been working tirelessly to address all concerns of their constituents, including the returning overseas Filipinos,”
In particular, the LPP said Dr. Padilla uttered the following libelous statement: “That’s why I think it’s the ignorance only on the part of the LGUs (local government units) eh, they don’t understand, you know, so I think tama ho yong sinabi n’yo (it’s correct what you said) we should lecture on them, we should have seminars.
“I’m willing to give it even via Zoom, right? We are doing this anyway to the LGUs, we can do it for them and to educate them.”
Velasco, a retired associate justice of the Supreme Court before joining politics, debunked Padilla’s statement, saying “To say that LGUs are ignorant is but a reflection of her knowledge, or lack thereof, of how LGUs have been tirelessly working and coordinating with the National Government to implement measures and provide assistance to all Filipinos to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 despite limited resources.”
“LGUs are no strangers to heavy criticisms which are inevitably attached to public service. As front liners themselves, LGUs bear the brunt of the public’s clamor for a more adequate, immediate and efficient government response against the pandemic,” the Marinduque governor added.
According to Velasco, the LPP believes the LGUs, who carry a heavy burden and responsibility, deserve some degree of respect with their tremendous and unwavering efforts in serving their constituents during this pandemic.
“On national television, Dr. Padilla displayed her own ignorance and disrespect to LGUs. What makes Dr. Padilla’s statement worse is that it was uttered during a time when the LGUs cannot afford to have their constituents lose faith and trust in them, as the cooperation and discipline of the people are paramount in preventing any further transmission of COVID-19,” he lamented.
“Evidently, Dr. Padilla did not only degrade the LGUs, but also set their efforts to naught in front of the entire Filipino nation,” he said.
The LPP official demanded that Dr. Padilla should own up to her inexcusable mistake and immediately issue a public apology for her “sweeping, uninformed and insulting remarks” against LGUs.
“Otherwise, the League will pass a Resolution declaring her persona non grata in all 81 provinces,” Velasco said.
“The League assures the public that the LGUs have been working unrelentingly to win this war against COVID-19. The plight suffered by each and every Filipino is a plight all LGUs share as we continue to endeavor to provide efficient and adequate assistance for all. We pray that the Filipino people keep their faith in the LGUs as we strive to heal as one,” the LPP executive added.