Steering clear of unnecessary distractions, one that is beset in a potential probe by the NBI, Mayor Vico Sotto is dedicating his efforts to seeing an end to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Navigating our social media timelines has been increasingly disheartening and disappointing, especially as of late. With a mentally exhausting and psychologically draining few weeks since the imposition of community quarantines and lockdowns, most of which was spent keeping our eyes peeled for the latest news on the global pandemic of Covid-19 and updates on the response of the national and local government, it has been definitely a lot to take in and process all at the same time.
With varying degrees of concern for the efforts undertaken by the supposed leaders of our land, most of it has been met with disgruntlement and dissatisfaction on the grounds of transparency, urgency, and accountability. As it is a government of democracy by the people and for the people, such reactions and even criticisms are warranted and necessary, and rightfully so, especially since the matter at hand is an issue of actual life and death.
While it is arguably an unprecedented crisis that has challenged even the more advanced of countries, it doesn’t take away from the fact that in the local milieu, there exists a great effect of sensationalizing and politicking, much to the chagrin of LGUs, front-liners, and yes, each and everyone of us debilitated by the looming threat of Covid-19.
Despite the very best efforts of public servants steering their ships on the tempestuous waters of governance and the pandemic, as evidenced by effective leadership in the cities of Manila, Marikina, Rizal, Valenzuela, Pasig, and as it is worth mentioning, even the Office of the Vice President. With little to no fragile egos and exacerbated insecurities, the mayors behind these municipalities are doing the work and finding solutions, essentially putting the needs of their constituents ahead of anything else. “Ang sa akin lang, andami nating kailangang gawin na trabaho. Nagko-comply kami sa mga direktiba ng national, we also have our own initiatives,” explains Mayor Vico Sotto of Pasig city after he was summoned by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for allegedly violating Republic Act No. 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, which granted President Rodrigo Duterte the power to ensure that local officials strictly follow the guidelines set by the presiding task force in responding to the coronovirus crisis. “We’re all doing our best, from the national to the barangay level, we’re all doing our best to mitigate the ill effects of COVID-19. So, sana mag-focus na lang tayo lahat sa trabaho. Ang dami pa nating kailangan gawin.”
Causing a riled up and enraged uproar on social media, many questioned the motives of the probe, arguing that it is highly unnecessary, proving to be nothing more than a thinly veiled diversion tactic, especially in light of the public’s deafening clamor for transparency on the allocation of the 275 billion peso budget granted to the head of state, as well as of concrete plans to curb the swelling surge of Covid-19 in the country.
“I’m not going to say that, pero naabala kami,” asserts Mayor Vico Sotto, when prodded if he felt singled out by the inquisition. “Imbes na makapagtrabaho ako ng maayos, siyempre nagsulat ang NBI, kailangan kong sumagot, It’s extra work, extra hassle, but it won’t distract us, tuloy-tuloy po kami magtatrabaho para sa ikabubuti ng lahat.” From the beginning, and even with all the fanfare attached to his name and efforts, he was never taken by the blinding glare of fame. In fact, when it was floated around that he could possibly be a contender for the presidency in the future, he simply thanked people for the staunch support and diffused it by arguing that he has no interest for national politics at his age. The focus was and will always be for the progress of Pasig city, and nothing has changed, even in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. “No matter what happens, we will focus on the task at hand, and right now, the task at hand is to defeat Covid-19,” he asserts, dedicating his time to finding solutions without resorting to force and fear.
Rising from the ranks for effectively and efficiently doing what he was sworn by the constitution to do, Mayor Vico Sotto is taking all the allegations and criticisms hurled at him in stride, buckling down to getting work done for the city he serves. There is simply no time for distractions, he argues. “We have actually been compliant with national directives,” he assures. “Now is not the time for making issues or arguing, but let’s just do what we can to save lives.”
At the end of the day, Mayor Vico Sotto is present and persistent, clearly a manifestation of a man dedicated to his duties. Allowing nothing to stand in his way, his goal is very clear for the foreseeable future: to quell the menace that is Covid-19. “I will always just do what I believe is right,” he says, skipping the drama and looking on ahead, because as he continues to reiterate (with the help of a panda), there is still a mountain of work to be done. Everyone else, please take note.