DESPITE President Rodrigo Duterte’s constant tagging of Iloilo and its executives in the illegal drug trade, his adviser for the Visayas region clarified it does not diminish the President’s love for Iloilo and the Ilonggos.
“President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s intention to cleanse Iloilo City of illegal drugs is a gesture of his profound regards to the Ilonggos,” said presidential adviser for the Visayas Michael Lloyd Dino in a press release.
“If the law enforcement arms of government work to put Mayor Jed Mabilog answerable to our justice system, it does not mean to diminish President Duterte’s respect and love to Iloilo and the Ilonggos. It is but an expression of emphasis that the president wants to burden this government just to ensure that Iloilo is well taken care of under his administration,” Dino added.
In several of his public functions since August 2016, Duterte has constantly accused Mabilog of allegedly protecting the illegal drug trade, an accusation the mayor strongly and repeatedly denied.
Duterte also labeled Iloilo as “bedrock of illegal drugs,” “most shabulized”, among other tags.
The public accusations and threats from the acid-tongued President drove Mabilog to temporarily leave his post due to sickness since September 2017 to date.
The President’s constant mention of Iloilo in his war on drugs, however, is interpreted by some as “politically-motivated” because he lost in the city and province and the rest of Western Visayas in the 2016 presidential elections.
But Dino said that Duterte’s pronouncements are with basis, not just political posturing.
“When the President mentioned 150 drug personalities at the outset of his war on drugs, 53 of them are from Iloilo. And a good number of chiefs of police had served during the tenure of the mayor. It goes to show that the President has deep intelligence information from the ground that validates, re-validates, and counter-validates his list of personalities who are reportedly on the drug activities,” Dino said.
To back his “Duterte-loves-Iloilo” claim, Dino cited priority social welfare and infra projects in Western Visayas.
These include the P138-million free medicine for the poor through the Lingap sa Masa Program, the Malasakit Desk, the Iloilo-Guimaras Bridge, the development of Iloilo International Airport, and the Panay River Basin project.
Dino said the multi-million dollar bridges that will improve interconnectivity among Visayas provinces, “will start in Iloilo.”
He added that “it is the President’s standing order to make things done under this river basin project.”
The airport development, on the other hand, is part of the government’s massive rehabilitation and improvement effort on strategic gateways in the country.
“The President’s emphasis on peace and order goes hand in hand with socio-economic development. Therefore, Iloilo will always be in the forefront of the Duterte administration’s bulletin of socio-economic programs,” Dino said.
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