Joe III urges political opponents to put personal interests aside

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Iloilo City Jose “Joe” Espinosa III urged fellow city officials to spare Ilonggos from political fights amid the worsening drought due to El Niño.

“Genuine leaders must safeguard public welfare in terms of water provision especially during the time when they need the most this very vital and basic requirement in everyday life,” said Espinosa in The Daily Guardian article.

On Tuesday, opposition councilors Jay Treñas, Ely Estante, Armand Parcon, Lady Julie Grace Baronda, Irene Ong and Leila Luntao, and Vice-Mayor Jeffrey Ganzon were a no-show during a council session tackling the city’s water shortage.

They did not file a leave of absence or issue a valid reason.

The councilors reportedly skipped the session as they did not want Iloilo City to be placed under a State of Calamity, saying the disaster risk reduction and management funds for water rationing might be used for political purposes.

“To say that I, as the father of the city, am disheartened and unbelieving is an understatement. I did not expect that a water crisis can be construed as a political agendum of opposing parties,” said Espinosa.

He urged the councilors to act in the public interest ahead of their personal interests

“How can they, who call themselves champion of the people, think about politics first in a time when Ilonggos are suffering from the absence of such a basic need, not to mention those employees who could have availed of a calamity loan to use for their families,” according to him.