In Pateros, Yellow Ribbon Means a COVID Case Lives in This House

Mayor sees nothing wrong with it.
Photo/s: Contributed photo

Pateros Mayor Ike Ponce III said Monday there was no politics or discrimination involved in tying yellow ribbons in front of houses with COVID-19 patients, stressing that it's for monitoring and delivery of services during lockdown.

The yellow ribbons were put up voluntarily, without the local government issuing an ordinance that requires it, Ponce said.

"Actually ang pinag-uusapan nating paglabag at diskriminasyon ay kung ayaw n'ya, pipilitin mo. Pero kung pareho tayong nagkakasundo, parang in effect I’m waiving my rights for privacy," he told GMA News.

Ponce said he understood the residents' right to privacy and to keep their status secret. If their houses were yellow-tagged and they didn't want it, they can take it off without repercussions as was communicated to the residents via barangay and city mayor announcements and social media reminders.

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Ponce, who ran under PDP-Laban in 2019, said tagging houses with yellow ribbons was in no way a jab against the political opposition, whom critics call "Dilawan."

"Nais kong ipaliwanag na 'yung paglalagay po ng ribbon, ito'y nagkataon lang na dilaw. Ito lang ang available sa atin kaya ito'y walang kahit na anong politikang involved dito."

He said marking houses would work both ways: for the infected to avoid their neighbors, and for the neighbors to maintain safe distance from them. Ponce claimed that unlike last year, there is no stigma anymore in being tagged COVID-positive.

With or without yellow ribbons, residences with COVID-19 cases or close contact will still be given ayuda, he said.

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The local government opted to lock down individual houses because it lacks budget to cordon off entire streets.

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"Sa isang kalsada may 50 houses, may affected lang na pito, tutulungan mo na lahat ng 50 houses... 'di po namin kaya 'yun," he said.

So far, Pateros has around 600 active COVID-19 cases, he said.

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