ZAMBOANGA CITY – A member of the City Council has distributed bottles of alcohol and homemade face masks to residents here – thanks, but no thanks after some locals criticized him for allegedly politicizing the health crisis after he printed his name on face masks and even put a sticker of his photo on alcohol bottles.
Khymer Olaso defended himself from criticisms, saying, the face masks and alcohol were intended for his “people” distributing food packs to residents, and not for public consumption or for use of medical frontliners.
Photos posted on Facebook by Trisha Ricablanca showed four people wearing Olaso’s face masks and holding bags of rice. One photo shows the printed face masks and bottles of alcohom with sticker of Olaso’s photo and name. The caption reads: “Too early pa po para mangampanya ang mga politician. Help your city po muna.”
Olaso said the face masks and alcohol should not be a big issue. “These are not for the public or frontliners, but for my people who use them during the distribution of food packs to the public. There are also face masks without my name and those are for my constituents and frontlines who are the priority here,” Olaso said on his Facebook post.
He said residents were still asking for more face masks even with his printed name on them. “I still ordered many face masks and will give them away for those who need them and I will continue my good service so I can help the public,” he added.
Olaso said it was his initiative to give out free face masks because they are expensive and sell for P50 each. He said the supply of alcohol is also running out and even hospitals do not have stocks. “I am trying to help here. I apologized for giving our face masks with my printed name on them. It is not intentional,” he said.
A photo from Olaso's Facebook account shows fresh batch of face masks for distribution and 5,000 more are expected soon.
On his Facebook page, Olaso said he is still looking for a tailor who can sew at least 5,000 face masks that he can give to residents. “I am looking for somebody who can sew another 5,000 pieces of face masks, please help me. Please help our constituent of Zamboanga. Thank u so much for those who listen and believed in me... God bless us always,” his wrote on his post and accompanying it is a photo of sample of the face mask.
His humble post drew admiration and appreciation from those who read it. “Thank you na serbisyo Cons,” wrote Moses.
The word Cons refers to Consejal or Councilor.
Yunhcusa Manigault Paragas wrote: “Cons, can you also give us here in Vitali (District 2), not one councilor in District have thought of providing face masks to their constituents.”
Photos from Olaso's Facebook page show new face masks and food aid consisiting of rice and noodles for distribution.
In another set of pictures of face masks, now with any prints, and bags of rice for his distribution to residents, netizens who followed Olaso’s social media posts have these to say.
Giljohn Gatchalian Rojas: “Sir, can we request for face masks at least for our volunteers here in country homes who are helping us men the security post of our entrance and exit of our residents? Big big thanks.”
And Nitz Bernardo praised Olaso for his humble services. “Thank you Cons, please watch over the poorest of the poor. We pity them. God bless.”
The Covid-19, now a global pandemic, broke out in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December last year, and quickly spread to over 100 countries with China recording over 81,000 infections and more than 3,200 deaths.
Mayor Beng Climaco told Zamboanga’s nearly one million residents to stay at home as precaution against the virus now threatening public health, after she confirmed the city's first Covid-19 positive case late Tuesday. (Zamboanga Post)