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By: Eleanor Valeros | Published Saturday, June 20, 2020

The governors of the four provinces in Central Visayas will come up with a Joint Statement regarding an "alarming and erroneous" piece of reporting published on June 19 by The Philippine Star (PhilStar). 

Governor Gwendolyn Garcia of Cebu, Bohol Governor Arthur Yap, Negros Oriental Governor Ruel Degamo, and Siquijor Governor Zaldy Villa are one in saying that the umbrella story on PhilStar which read “Entire Central Visayas placed under ECQ” is inaccurate reporting.

“I think the writer, Mayen Jaymalin, took the statement of USec. Vergeiri (Health spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeiri) out of context and came up with this very erroneous report,” Garcia said.

“How could a reporter, who is supposed to represent excellence, got it so wrong? Ang ubang papers didn’t get it wrong. I suppose there were other papers in the presser. And the editors didn’t see that because they didn’t even ask nganong nikalit og announce si USec Vergeiri when it’s always the President who announces, or then supported by Secretary (Harry) Roque,” she asked.
Garcia said that she already had a talk with Governor Villa who gave her permission to state for him how ridiculous the news story was when Siquijor remains Covid-free until now.

“We request The Philippine Star to kindly rectify this, conduct the proper investigation and if sanctions be warranted, such sanctions be imposed on those responsible for such an inaccurate and alarm-raising piece of reporting," she stressed. 
"It is irresponsible journalism. I am hopeful that PhilStar issue the proper admission of error tomorrow (June 20) kay daghang nahasol paggawas gyud ani sa Facebook,” she added.

Under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), only essential establishments are allowed to operate and that public transport is restricted.

“Kuyaw kaayo og ma-ECQ kay balik na sad ta, sirado na pud ang mga negosyo. Wala na puy public transport. Sayud ta sa kalisud nga giagian sa mga Sugbuanon. Sus wala ko’y laing nahimo adto kundi moluhod, nangadye ko, I was praying for a miracle kay balik na sad ta nga wala’y trabaho. Nakaingon ko nga pastilan, kaluy-i intawon ang mga Sugbuanon,” she further stressed.

Seventh District Provincial Board (PB) Member Christopher “Dong” Baricuatro, a guest of the virtual presser on June 19, vowed that the PB will ask PhilStar to explain the erroneous news article. This will be tackled in an online session on Monday, June 22.

“Honorable Franco will sponsor a resolution demanding an explanation,” Baricuatro said referring to 4th District PB Member Horacio “Raci” Franco.

Meanwhile, Garcia clarified a banner story of SunStar Cebu on June 19 which read “Test kits bought by LGU, not OPAV: Dino.”

“For the past weeks, there have been a lot of innuendos, kanang insinuations against Secretary Michael Dino. Kindly read the entire story. It shows that these LGUs bought these test kits themselves. Wala mag-apil ang OPAV," she said.

The governor cited a rumor that the kits were from the Office of the Presidental Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV) because the foundation of Sec. Michael Dino also donated test kits.

"I think there’s a confusion there. Nga naghunahuna nga gi-donate unya gipalit. Dili na sakto. Lahi to ang gipang-donate, gikan sa foundation sa inahan ni Sec. Mike. He has kept silent about this so far. But I think this is the time to set the record straight,” Garcia said.

She mentioned that some of the controversial posts quoted by the report came from former Provincial Consultant Byron Garcia. 

Garcia said she has been tagged in the controversy as she is a sibling of Byron.

“Yes, Byron is my brother. But it does not mean nga pareha mi og hunahuna. Mahimo nga sa usa ka pamilya magkadilain ang hunahuna. Kay murag ang insinuation is also unacceptable. Even siblings can have different frames of mind and can have different positions on an issue, and right now I stand with Secretary Mike Dino,” the governor emphasized.

She shared that Dino came to Cebu's defense when some Cabinet secretaries asked the imposed pork ban in the province to be lifted.

“Wala mo kahibawo unsay gibuhat ana ni Sec. Mike Dino sa Cebu adtong panahon nga gi-pressure ko sa mga powers-that-be nga ipa-lift ang ban sa pork. It was really a lot of pressure. Kahibawo ka kinsa’y mi-depensa nato? Sa tanang Cabinet meetings he came to Cebu’s defense. He took a position to defend our P11-billion hog industry. He took a position that go against three Cabinet secretaries,” Garcia added. (Eleanor Valeros)