Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic turned our lives upside down last week, Vico Sotto has been a mainstay on trending lists all over the Philippine internet. By now, you’ve probably been acquainted with what he’s been doing in this fight against the virus, but just in case you haven’t and you don’t know what all the hype is about — or maybe even if you have but you just want a reminder that there are good leaders out there — we’ve made an 8List. Here are some of the ways Vico Sotto gave us hope during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Preparations, precautionary measures against #covid19/n.corona virus
Earlier this afternoon, fb live at our CDRRMO/RED Center: https://t.co/dohUGpKKVn
— Vico Sotto (@VicoSotto) March 8, 2020
Even before the lockdown was announced or a confirmed case was found in Pasig, the 30-year-old mayor was preparing precautionary measures against COVID-19. He wasn’t just reacting to developments, but was doing as much as he could to make sure that his government could be as ready as possible to fight.
He was a clear and reassuring voice when we needed one
When the lockdown was announced, most of the country was left with so many questions about what it really meant. The morning after the announcement, Vico went on Facebook Live to calmly explain the community quarantine’s measures to the general public, not just Pasigueños. For many (including this writer), his FB Live was a much-needed explainer that calmed down nerves and helped us breathe a little easier.
Calmly encouraging his constituents instead of stirring up panic seems to be the standard for Vico, who was quick to reassure the public when the confirmed COVID-19 cases started to rise in number.
Dont panic. I was at the Task Force mtg in Malacañang and i believe the DOH is being very truthful about the information they are releasing. As of tonight 24 confirmed cases.
Pls dont do panic buying. Lalo na sa mga alcohol, masks. Kawawa naman yung mauubusan
— Vico Sotto (@VicoSotto) March 9, 2020
He steps up to the challenge
When Malacañang announced the Luzon-wide community quarantine, one question that was on almost everyone’s minds was how people would feed themselves without work, especially if they live from paycheck to paycheck. The national government then said that the burden of feeding their constituents fell on the LGUs.
Vico got to work quickly, starting a mobile clinic and allocating P100M on food packs for the 30 barangays in Pasig. As always, he was also very transparent about their decision-making on social media so his constituents knew where their tax pesos were going.
Sa kasalukuyan ay inihahanda na namin ang Purchase Request para sa 400,000 food packs.
Hindi magiging madali ang logistics nito. Hihingi ang lungsod ng tulong sa mga pamahalaan pambarangay para sa distribusyon.
(Mode: emergency procurement. Expected delivery: end of this week) pic.twitter.com/ODw7c81mRG
— Vico Sotto (@VicoSotto) March 18, 2020
He’s not afraid to go against the grain
Recently, Vico has stepped on many authorities’ toes for appealing to the national government to allow Pasig’s tricycle drivers to operate. Why? Because according to his office’s risk assessment, not doing so would endanger more lives as patients and health workers would have a difficult time traveling to and from hospitals. And he’s so concerned about it that he’s losing sleep over it.
Hindi ako nakatulog. Iniisip ko kung ano ang mangyayari sa atin kung pipigilan ang pagbiyahe ng tricycle sa Pasig. May #LibrengSakay tayo pero DI NITO KAKAYANIN ANG LIBO-LIBONG HEALTH WORKER AT PASYENTE.
Pls read to see why we believe a total ban on tricycles will endanger lives pic.twitter.com/vPi7LJaKNL
— Vico Sotto (@VicoSotto) March 17, 2020
In an interview with ABS-CBN, he said that all of Pasig’s vehicles are already being used to give free rides to health workers, but that they’re still lacking in transportation solutions. Many of Pasig’s streets are also narrow and only traversable by tricycles and motorcycles, making it doubly hard for his constituents to go where they need to go.
Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto: Nakikiusap po ako sa ating nasyonal na pamahalaan, baka naman po pwedeng bigyan ng konsiderasyon ‘yung mga tricycle pic.twitter.com/c0NEojvO2h
— Jeff Canoy (@jeffcanoy) March 18, 2020
The national government has since rejected Vico’s request, saying that allowing tricycle drivers to operate would make social distancing difficult. Vico did say that he’s not actively trying to defy the national government, but is just looking out for his constituents. Even so, his actions have now placed him in the crosshairs of political propagandists and troll farms.
(Protect him at all costs.)
He doesn’t stop looking for solutions
Even after the national government rejected his request to allow tricycles to transport health workers, he didn’t lose heart and kept looking for solutions for Pasigueños. The Pasig government repurposed their bike share units so that essential government personnel and health workers could get to work.
Because the national government is ungas & won’t listen to Mayor Vico Sotto’s appeal to allow tricycles to transport frontline gov’t personnel & health workers, the LGU is giving them bikes! Ba’t hindi nauubusan ng solusyon si Vico samantalang si Digong, nasa checkpoint pa rin? https://t.co/EsGCJWLIBR
— Jerry B. Grácio (@JerryGracio) March 18, 2020
This shows that Vico and his team aren’t afraid to think out of the box. Recently, he went viral for buying disinfectant drones — that’s right, DRONES. Amazing to see just how much tax money can achieve when it’s being put to use properly, eh?
He gives credit where credit is due…
Many have expressed dismay at some government officials for not showing gratitude to those at the frontlines — the health workers, the sanitation crews, the essential government offices — but Vico has time and time again expressed his appreciation for their dedication.
Thank you to our people at the frontlines.
Alam kong pagod na kayo, pero di kayo tumitigil. May God bless you for all your hard work and sacrifice!!!
— Vico Sotto (@VicoSotto) March 16, 2020
…And doesn’t grab credit for himself
Take a note of the language he uses on social media. You don’t see a lot of “I”s and “me”s. It’s usually an acknowledgment of a collective effort: “us” and “we”. These words may seem small and insignificant, but they make a huge difference in the message he’s communicating — that his office is only able to operate with the support of our taxes, and that he’s not working alone, but is merely leading a huge operation where every worker is playing a crucial role.
To multiply the efforts of the city’s #Disinfection Team, we turned over 500 sets of Backpack Sprayers with Disinfectants and PPEs to our 30 barangays.
— Vico Sotto (@VicoSotto) March 13, 2020
He lets his actions speak for themselves, not making his works about him, but about Pasig.
But here’s the thing: Vico shouldn’t be extraordinary
I have to say that halfway through this list I was starting to feel icky for singing praises of a politician. If we’ve paid any attention to our history classes, we should know about the dangers of putting politicians on a pedestal, something that certainly wasn’t my intention. As much as we love the guy, we don’t want to turn into Vico fanatics who’ll turn a blind eye to his failings and defend him to the death. This might be hard to believe, but he’s human and prone to mistakes, just like you and me.
But this has to be said: right now, Vico is a breath of fresh air. He shouldn’t be, because this should be the norm, but he is.
Grabe ano? The sad reality of the Philippines na we are very amazed and happy of what Vico Sotto does, even commenting na “Pilipinas pa ba ang Pasig” when in fact thats the type of service all Filipinos are supposed to get in the first place.
— SANDRA’S SECRET (@ThePSandraL) March 18, 2020
Now, we don’t want to say that he’s the only government official stepping up to the challenge. We acknowledge that he’s getting an inordinate amount of our attention because 1) he’s a Sotto; 2) he’s a millennial who knows how social media works; and 3) let’s not beat around the bush, he’s cute and single. However, let’s not ignore the efforts of other LGU leaders out there who are also hard at work.
1. Pasig City – @VicoSotto
2. Cainta – Kit Nieto
3. Marikina City – Marcy Teodoro
4. Valenzuela – Rex Gatchalian
5. Baguio City – Benjie Magalong
— (@elyasjuan) March 18, 2020
All that being said, we hope Vico continues focusing on serving the people as his political career progresses. Also, Vico, matulog ka na please.
Are you happy with what your LGU is doing in response to this pandemic? Sound off in the comments below!