TABUK CITY, Kalinga – City Mayor Darwin C. Estrañero appealed to President Rodrigo R. Duterte about the city’s need to have an additional COVID-19 virus extraction and RT-PCR machine during the visit of Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Secretary Salvador Panelo Sr. today at Davidson Hotel.
In his welcoming speech, Mayor Estrañero discussed with Secretary Panelo the city’s accomplishment of being the only local government which funded its own RT-PCR Laboratory in Northern Luzon.
According to the mayor, “I would like to inform the secretary and his wife that the city of Tabuk is the first local government in the entire northern Luzon that funded and presently operating its RT-PCR laboratory. Presently, the city’s laboratory is accommodating Tabukeños’ swab samples, as well as other municipalities.”
When Secretary Panelo asked what the city’s needs are, the mayor immediately suggested the city’s priority to have an additional extraction and RT-PCR machine because it seeks to cater more swab samples from other provinces like Cagayan and Isabela.
Estrañero said, “Gusto pa naming makapagprocess ng mas maraming [swab] samples dahil sa ngayon ang aming extraction machine ay kaya lang makapag-process ng isang-daang swab samples sa isang araw. We intend to extend our assistance to other provinces and to cater more swab samples to other municipalities.”
In his response, Secretary Panelo called Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco T. Duque to inquire about the mayor’s request, but he cannot reach the DOH secretary’s phone number. After hearing other bids from other officials present, the Chief Legal Adviser dialed another number, and the audience was in awe after hearing President Rodrigo Duterte’s voice.
Through a speakerphone, the secretary reported to the president the following request of the officials, including the recommendation for an additional extraction machine, to wit: Poor internet connectivity that primarily affects workers and students; Farm-to-Marker roads for easier access of agricultural products; an accessible route to tourist destinations; additional ambulance and patrol cars; plantation of marijuana to be converted to a plantation of farm seedlings; housing dedicated to affected residents on government’s road-right-of-way clearing operations; the bill on Magna Carta for the Punong Barangays and the bill on Autonomous Region in Cordillera;
President Duterte vouch to act upon the reported requests considering that most problems found in Kalinga are also problems of other places in the Philippines. He requested Secretary Panelo to list down all of what was mentioned so that his Cabinet members will act on it during their subsequent regular sessions.
Moreover, Secretary Panelo instructed the board members of the province, city, and municipal mayors, and punong barangays in Tabuk City who are in attendance to write a written request addressed to him for his endorsement to the president.
After the consultation meeting, the Secretary headed to his other itinerary and met with an organization in Tabuk City.