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Sotto not keen on political plans; to focus on Pasig COVID-19 response

Eisenhower F. Carlos, II, Staff Writer


Politics take a backseat, at least for Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto.

With the pandemic in full swing and the National Capital Region still wallowing in the first wave of the Corona Virus with lockdowns reverting to its earlier phase, Sotto can just easily brush off politics and focus on programs that must be prioritized to be able to finally contain it and end the pandemic.

Having been a year only into his first term as chief executive of the City of Pasig, the neophyte mayor has been all over the city leading the fight against the pandemic.

45 schools were routinely disinfected before the lockdown, disinfecting kits were distributed to at least 30 barangays, disinfection drones were used to help curb the spread of the virus, the mobile palengke was put into place to still enable residents get their basic needs without the need to travel back and forth their homes and the market, Earth-friendly shuttles for frontliners during the Luzon – wide lockdown, and over 400,000 food packs were distributed to poverty-stricken communities in Pasig.

Recently, the mayor was also able to generate more than 1 billion pesos of revenues to procure devices that will help Pasig students attend their online classes.

In an interview last June 26, Sotto reaffirmed his commitment to clean the city of corruption, provide universal healthcare, and other programs to benefit the poorest of the poor. He recognized, though, that this is going to be a hard battle.

Sotto pointed out that three years is not enough to finish everything in his agenda because of the pandemic, and that it would be difficult to leave hanging all these projects when all that he intended to do was fulfill his campaign promises. If he is not able to deliver, he said that he is open to other future mayoral candidates taking his place if he sees that they can do a better job than him to provide clean governance to the City of Pasig.

Ang hirap iwanan bigla, three years is too short tapos nagkaroon pa tayo ng COVID-19,” he assessed. “So, lahat ng programa natin na-delay ng ilang buwan.”

Yung ibang program naman natin tina-try gawan ng paraan pero syempre iba eh,” he added. “for six months nung 2019, we planned, we planned for universal healthcare, we planned to do our inventory para maka-identify ng mga housing areas, we planned for inclusive governance, people empowerment.”

The mayor went on revealing his frustration for his inability to fast-track his programs given the lockdown caused by the pandemic.

“…these have been delayed. We are working on them but with COVID, na-delay talaga, so three years is very short,” he explained.

Nevertheless, Sotto had no qualms sharing his views regarding the possible mayoralty candidates who may wish to give it a run in the next elections and the dangers of holding on to a position for the sake of political expediency.

“But ako naman from 2018, before I started to run for mayor, ang mindset ko kung may mas okay na iba, kung may mas magaling, kung may ibang pwedeng tumakbo na tapat, bakit hindi?” he remarked. “Hindi naman ako nandito para sa posisyon eh. Kumbaga, never ako kakapit sa posisyon kasi once you start to worry about defending your position, once you start thinking too much about politics, dyan ka na magiging corrupt, dyan ka na babaluktot ang mga prinsipyo mo kasi yan lang iniisip mo.” He reiterated that one must focus on the mission and how the goals can be achieved.

“The goal is to clean up Pasig, the goal is to clean up governance, to benefit the poorest of the poor,” he explained. “Para sa akin, malinaw na malinaw nay an ang goal.”

Just the same, Sotto insists that he is still not thinking about the future campaigns and that he would rather be concerned of the present situations in Pasig. He insisted that his present goals to clean up Pasig and provide good governance remains the key on how the city will make it through the pandemic and set the tone for the new normal.

Hindi ko muna iisipin yan, but kung ano ang best decision in that point in time, yun lang,” he concluded. “Mahirap ang palaging pulitika ang iniisip.”

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