By CHITO CHAVEZ
Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III shot back at his bashers, particularly vice-presidential spokesperson Barry Gutierrez who described him as the real “pabigat” (burden) and getting fat for doing nothing in the country’s battle against the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19).
In an interview on Friday, Densing slammed Gutierrez and his critics for their penchant to “discredit our hard work instead of giving inspiration and encouragement to the people who are working hard to fight the pandemic.’’
“Well gumaan nga ang katawan ko dahil kulang ako sa tulog at kain para sa paglaban sa COVID-19 at sa kalalabas at muntik na rin mamatay dahil sa COVID-19,” Densing said.
“Sila nga pabigat. Dahil wala silang ginagawa para makatulong sa bayan, tumaba na sila,” he added.
Critics have claimed that the government allegedly bungled its response to the pandemic as the situation has further deteriorated with the skyrocketing COVID-19 cases in the country that even breached the 10,000 mark.
After calling Vice-President Leni Robredo as non-essential and “pabigat’’, Gutierrez in an April 1 tweet hit back at Densing, saying he “epitomizes’’ the administration’s COVID-19 response.
“With cases rising, hospitals full, & millions struggling, instead of doing real work, he makes ‘jokes,’ plays politics, & bashes someone who’s actually doing the job they’re supposed to,” he wrote in his tweet.
In an April 1 interview, Densing clarified that the food “lugaw (rice porridge)’’ is essential, but “lugaw the person’’, alluding to Robredo, is not.
The controversy first logged the news on March 31 after a viral video showed a Grab rider being barred from delivering “lugaw’’ during curfew hours with a barangay tanod insisting that it is non-essential.
The DILG has since distanced itself from Densing’s controversial “si lugaw” description of Robredo that drew wide public criticisms. In a GMA News report, DILG undersecretary Jonathan Malaya clarified that Densing’s views are not the official stand of the department.