On his birthday, Vico Sotto tells staff: No surprise party, please

JC Gotinga
On his birthday, Vico Sotto tells staff: No surprise party, please
'Papunta na po akong opis ngayon. Kung may binabalak kayo, itigil 'nyo na 'yan!' says Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto

MANILA, Philippines – No party or celebration whatsoever, Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto tweeted ahead of his arrival at city hall on Wednesday morning, June 17, his 31st birthday.

“Papunta na po akong opis ngayon. Kung may binabalak kayo, itigil ‘nyo na ‘yan!” Sotto jested on his official Twitter and Facebook pages. (I’m now on my way to the office. If you’re planning something, quit it!)

“Pakiusap na wala munang celebration o surprise party. Hindi naman ako mahilig sa party at higit pa rito, bawal pa ang mga mass gathering. Buhay na buhay pa si COVID, mga kaibigan!” Sotto added.

(I’m appealing to you – no celebration or surprise party for now. I’m not into parties and besides, mass gatherings are still prohibited. COVID is still very much alive, friends!)

Instead, the mayor urged well-wishers to buy grocery food packs and give them to the needy in lieu of a birthday gift for him. Those who would do so may drop the items off at the city’s Rescue Emergency Disaster Training Center or at the Mayor’s Office, Sotto added.

Holding birthday parties amid the coronavirus pandemic, when physical distancing is mandatory, became a touchy subject ever since Metro Manila police chief Major General Debold Sinas held a “mañanita” on his birthday on May 8. Sinas claimed the gathering was a surprise by his subordinates, and he did not have the heart to call it off.

Aid for senior citizens

On Tuesday, June 16, the Pasig city government started house-to-house deliveries of 3 months’ worth of aid items to poor senior citizens, such as diapers, milk, and medicines. The package also includes pensions for those approved by the social welfare department, P1,000 worth of food coupons, and food packs with rice from the city government.

Pasig has long had a “Hospice” program for its senior citizens, even before Sotto became mayor. 

As of Tuesday, Pasig has recorded a total of 710 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 77 deaths and 389 recoveries. The city has 250 probable COVID-19 cases, and 125 suspected cases. All of its 30 barangays have reported coronavirus cases.

Sotto earlier said Pasig has cleared its coronavirus testing backlog. The city government gets help from private hospital The Medical City and the private-led Project ARK to test suspected and probable cases, and mass screen barangays with high incidences of the coronavirus. – Rappler.com

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JC Gotinga

JC Gotinga often reports about the West Philippine Sea, the communist insurgency, and terrorism as he covers national defense and security for Rappler. He enjoys telling stories about his hometown, Pasig City. JC has worked with Al Jazeera, CNN Philippines, News5, and CBN Asia.