MAYOR BLOWS TOP AGAIN: Treñas expresses disappointment over bureaucratic requirements

A worker of the Iloilo City Health disinfects a day care center in Brgy. Camalig, Jaro. Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas on Monday expressed his disappointment over the requirements imposed by several national government agencies (NGA). (Arnold Almacen/CMO)

By Joseph B.A. Marzan

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas on Monday expressed his disappointment over the requirements imposed by several national government agencies (NGA) which he said slowed down the delivery of goods and services to the people amid the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in the city.

The ECQ is part of the Iloilo City Government’s response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. It became effective on March 20, 2020 through Executive Order No. 55-2020 and will run until April 14, 2020.

Treñas said some NGAs were giving the city a hard time amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Gapanawagan kita sa [Department of Health], sa [Department of Education], sa [Department of Social Welfare and Development], kun waay kamo kabalo kun ano kita diri sa dalom, sa ground, kun ano ginapagwa niyo nga requirements bala, palihog lang. Kun piliton niyo pa ni ang requirements niyo subong, nga ginhawa ta ka-atipan sang [Persons Under Monitoring], [Persons Under Investigation] kag mga [COVID-19] positive diri sa aton, mabudllayan gid kita,” Treñas said.



Treñas did not hide his anger towards the Department of Education (DepEd) which required a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) in using the Iloilo Central Elementary School (ICES) as an isolation facility.

Ga-ugtas naman ko sa isa ka national agency, ang DepEd. Gina-require naman nila sa kadamo-damo sang requirements, nga indi kami kuno ka-usar sang eskwela as isolation center kun waay kami sang MOA. Mag-gwa na lang kita da sa [ICES] kay ginapabudlayan kita sang DepEd,” he said.

ICES currently houses both Persons Under Investigation (PUI) and Persons Under Monitoring (PUM).

PUIs are persons with signs and symptoms of COVID-19 who have been previously exposed to confirmed cases and/or traveled to infected areas either here or abroad, while PUMs are persons who have no signs and symptoms but have travel history to infected areas and/or have had exposure to PUIs.

The old Santa Maria Catholic School in City Proper was to become the second isolation facility if ICES becomes fully occupied.

Treñas said that he had spoken with the management of PHINMA which offered the University of Iloilo campus to become an isolation facility.

Kuhaon ta na ang offer sang PHINMA. Mas mayo pa ni ang mga private nga eskwelahan, ang PHINMA, and Santa Maria (Catholic School), kay nag-offer sila nga ipa-usar anay. Kun pila na ka adlaw nga mag-tawhay na bala, pwede na makabutang sang MOA. Ini ya, ang DepEd, gina-require nila nga may MOA. So bay-an ta na lang ang DepEd,” he said.



Treñas also called out the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) concerning its Social Amelioration Program.

He said that the DSWD had asked the City Government to come up with a list of beneficiaries from each barangay.

The agency had announced on Facebook that the deadline for the list is on Friday, April 3.

Treñas admitted that the city cannot comply with the deadline.

“We cannot comply [with the deadline], I have to be honest. I don’t know if we can submit it in weeks. I think whoever came up with that deadline should be shot. Gintan-aw ko to, informal settlers, sari-sari store owners, may mga wala na ubra, construction workers, almost tanan nga wala ubra sulod didto. How can we come up with the list on or before April 3? That’s impossible,” he said.

Treñas did not mince words in expressing his feelings on the rules imposed by DSWD.

Nag-gwa sa Facebook nga asta lang sa April 3. Sa ini nga sitwasyon, ga-gwa gid ang pagka-stupidity sang mga tawo. We cannot come up with that deadline, so sa aton diri sa siyudad kun indi kita ka-lagas sina sa deadline then indi kita kakuha amelioration,” he said.

The mayor added that the agency’s P6-million food assistance is not sufficient for Western Visayas alone.

“They made a report that their budget for the food assistance is only P6 million. So, if they’re looking at Western Visayas with a budget of P6 million, I do not know what will happen to us. Sa tanan nga LGU, I tell you that if the DSWD has a budget of only P6 million for food assistance for the whole region, you better fend for yourself, kay wala kita ma-expect nga suporta sa DSWD,” he said.

Treñas had previously called out the DSWD for focusing its assistance only on Metro Manila and ignoring other areas including Iloilo.



The mayor reiterated his previous statements calling on the Department of Health to conduct ‘aggressive testing’ in the region.

Kun indi kita mag-aggressive testing, how will we know kun sino ang positive? Kun indi kita kabalo kun sino ang positive, then asymptomatic people, sige libot diri sa aton sa siyudad. We have difficulties nga mag-hambal sa mga PUM nga indi sila mag-gwa sa ila balay,” he said.

He added that other countries like South Korea resorted to aggressive testing to contain the spread of COVID-19.

“Why am I saying ‘aggressive testing’? This is what happened in [South] Korea, Taiwan, and Sweden. Aggressive testing nila, amu na nga ma-control nila ni. Kun indi sila mag-aggressive testing, makita nila ang virus? The only way that we will find out kun diin ang virus, diin ang location, diin ang mga tawo nga affected, is by testing, that’s the only way,” he said.

The mayor was also exasperated by the slow testing of DOH.

“I cannot understand why they refuse to test. Amu na nga subong, I was told [the DOH] will give us 500 test kits. Is that enough? I don’t think so. Pero at least maka-go na kita with these 500 test kits,” he said.



The mayor also reiterated that passes are not needed for the delivery of essential goods into the city.

May ara na ang [Inter-Agency Task Force] nga resolution, nga kun pagkaon gani indi na kinahanglan pass. Waay na sang quarantine pass nga ginatan-aw kay para na sa locality ta. Kun gadul-ong ka pagkaon sa gwa ukon gadala pagkaon pasulod, waay na kinahanglan quarantine pass,” he said.

He said that the problem is with other local government units (LGUs) that still required passes and other documents.

Ang problema sa iban nga mga LGU. Kay gina-require man nila ang passes sa guihapon. May ara gani nga isa ka probinsya nga kinahanglan kuno sang certification nga [COVID-19]-free ka,” he said.

The Department of Agriculture still issues food passes for delivery trucks carrying fresh food products, while the Department of Trade and Industry issues “do not delay” passes for basic goods, raw materials, and packaging materials.



Treñas said that the P291-million supplemental budget approved by the Iloilo City Council on Tuesday will be a “stand-by” budget.

“Most of that will be standby (budget) kay may ara pa man kita nga ma-usar. Ang akon lang, gapanigurado lang ko nga may ara kita nga pondo nga available. Makadto na sa bulong, sa [daily] sanitation, sa pagkaon, may ara kita 240 community kitchen nga ginapadalagan,” he said.

The supplemental budget came from the City Government’s savings from previous years’ budgets and was originally allocated for barangay projects but was rechanneled to COVID-19 relief efforts.