TACLOBAN CITY- The regional office of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) reported that 14 mayors from the region did not attend the meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday(Jan.11).
Of the 14 mayors, six of them were from Leyte; two from Samar; three from Southern Leyte and one each from Biliran, Northern Samar and Eastern Samar.
Pia Monina Lovete, chief of the local government monitoring and evaluation division of the DILG-8, said that all the 143 city and town mayors of the region were given an invitation to attend the Malacañang meeting course through their office.
“As far as our office is concerned, all the city and municipal mayors were invited and confirmed their attendance,” she said.
Asked if these 14 mayors who failed to attend the Malacañang meeting would be asked to explain for their absence, Lovete could not ascertain.
“I am not really sure but it was just an invitation…” she said whose department was among those in charge on this matter.
The invite was signed by DILG Undersecretary Austere Panadero.
Among those who failed to attend was Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez who was scheduled to leave for London, Lovete said.
Also absent from the gathering were Palo Mayor Remedios Petilla; Hindang Mayor Betty Cabal; Isabel Mayor Marcos Cerillo; Tunga Mayor Amando Aumento Sr. and MacArthur Mayor Rene Leria, all in Leyte.
From Samar, Mayors Ananias Rebato of San Jose de Buan and Leonilo Costelo of Talalora were also no show during the meeting as well as Mayor Dominador Agajan of Almeria.
In Southern Leyte the mayors of Hinundayan (Evelyn Lee), Malitbog (Alan Go) and Tomas Oppus (Agustin Escaño) were not also around in the meeting.
In Eastern Samar, the mayor of Gen. MacArthur, Jaime Ty was absent as well as Mayor Isidro Bandal of Capul, Northern Samar.
Meantime, Barugo, Leyte Mayor Ma. Rosario Avestruz, who attended the gathering, said that Pres. Duterte asked them to help his all-out war against the proliferation of the illegal drugs.
“Actually, I am supportive of his campaign against the illegal drugs and with his (latest order), I will further intensify our war against illegal drugs,” she said.
But she stressed that while she will intensify the campaign, she would make sure it would “possibly save lives.”
Avestruz was apparently alluding to killing incidents that have attended the brutal campaign of the Duterte’s administration on the illegal drugs.