CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan — Governor Daniel Fernando confirmed he was turned back when he attempted to enter the Subic Bay Freeport early this month.
However, he denied he violated any quarantine protocol or guidelines laid down by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases when he tried to enter the Freeport.
This was in reaction to the story published by The Manila Times on Wednesday (May 20) that was written by Dr. Dante Ang, chairman emeritus and owner of the said publication, that he was turned away by Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) administrator and chief executive officer Wilma Eisma.
The governor released a statement to Bulacan reporters on Thursday evening (May 21) saying “It saddens me that said article has already cast judgment on my person and placed me in a very bad light. Worst, it is being carelessly being passed around on social media and celebrated by my political detractors. I trust however, that the people of Bulacan know me, and would not judge me based on a biased narrative.”
“I made that trip to Bataan fully aware that I did not violate any law in accordance with the Omnibus Guidelines of the Community Quarantine issued by the IATF. As an APOR (Authorized Person Outside of Residence), I am allowed to travel within and across areas under any form of community quarantine in order to do my duty and render humanitarian service. However, Ms. Eisma pointed out that I needed to coordinate with proper authorities to facilitate passage through SBMA,” Fernando clarified.
The SBMA administrator in a text message to RONDA BALITA Online confirmed that the governor was denied entry at the Tipo Gate of SBMA on May 8 and noted that “to be fair [to the governor] he did not insist and made a scene sa gates” before his convoy turned back.
“Then I called him to explain and willing na nga sana ako ipa escort sya but before I can offer it nagalit na po sya that I have my own rules here and I am not following the IATF guidelines na exempted sya,” Eisma said.
The SBMA administrator said “He went on and on and I finally said ‘Sir kaya ko po kayo hindi pinayagan, may nagsabi sa akin na mag i- inspect kayo ng beach resort sa Morong. Hindi po essential travel yan so hindi allowed’.”
“That is when he said he is going to Morong to give money as relief,” Eisma said.
She lamented “And somehow kasalanan ko na hindi sila matutulungan….. Galit na galit po kasi sya and wala naman po akong magawa, By that time medyo ninerbyos na din ako na baka mali ang decision ko.”
Eisma then said “isumbong na lang nya ako sa IATF para ma-sanction ako. Ilang ulit ko po ito sinabi sa kanya” and added “Ayaw ko na sana sir palakihin ito at baka naman balikan ako.”
As these developed, the governor said that ”I have [already] spoken to Mr. Dante Ang [on Wednesday] to explain my side. I thank him for giving me the chance to clarify matters in the spirit of truth and fairness. More than anything, I owe this explanation to my fellow Bulakeños who have suffered enough from this pandemic and do not deserve this kind of dishonest information.”
The Manila Times released a news article on the said issue on Thursday (May 21) wherein Fernando pointed out that he deliberately delayed releasing his official statement on the issue until the said newspaper has come out with his explanation on the said issue which was not included on its May 20 report.
The governor also appeals to his detractors saying “To those who would add fuel to the fire to make this matter worse, I appeal to all of you, let us take politics and personal issues aside, at least in these trying times. There should be no space for divisiveness and misunderstanding. All social institutions – government officers, most of all – should be united under a single purpose: to ensure the health and safety of every Filipino during this pandemic. (RONDA BALITA Online)