Actress-comedienne Pokwang blasted a senior Palace official’s remark about Filipinos having a “year-long vacation” due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The actress aired her sentiments after learning of presidential spokesperson Harry Roque‘s words about the president’s move to classify certain traditional holidays as “special working holidays” to support economic recovery.
“Napakatagal na po natin nakabakasyon,” the spokesperson said in his Tuesday press briefing with a laugh.
“Halos isang taon na tayong nagbakasyon dahil sa COVID-19. Siguro naman po ngayong nandito na ang bakuna, hayaan naman nating maka-recover tayo for lost time ‘no,” he added.
Roque stressed that “nothing is etched in stone” yet and that the decision on holidays will depend on the availability of vaccines.
“Tingnan natin, baka naman dahil may bakuna na eh, makabalik na tayo sa dati at baka hindi na natin kinakailangan maghabol pa ‘no,” he added.
“Pero let us have faith po on our economic team at saka ang katotohanan, napakatagal na po nating nakabakasyon; iyong iba nga nawalan ng trabaho at gusto nang magtrabaho ‘no. So let’s leave it at that po,” the spokesperson further said.
Roque made these statements after President Rodrigo Duterte declared November 2, December 24 and December 31 of this year as “special working holidays” in a bid to “recover from the adverse economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“There is a need to encourage economic productivity by, among others, minimizing work disruption and commemorating some special holidays as special (working) days instead,” his proclamation reads.
Duterte’s spokesperson later earned criticisms from the public, with several of them saying the lockdown or the quarantine phases cannot be considered “vacation.”
Pokwang cited that some lost their livelihoods due to the lockdown.
“Hindi po bakasyon ang tawag don, sir! Be sensitive naman po! Bakasyon ba matatawag ‘yung umiiyak ka gabi2 (gabi-gabi) kasi wala ka na trabaho?” Pokwang tweeted on Wednesday.
“Pano na pamilya at pangkabuhayan niyo? Bakasyon po ba ‘yung need mo isara negosyo mo kasi may [pandemya?] Kung ganyan ang [bakasyon], edi ayoko na mag-bakasyon,” she added.
Pokwang was a longtime Kapamilya talent whose contract got affected after ABS-CBN lost its congressional franchise last year.
She previously shared that she is thankful the network had informed her in advance of the possibility of losing her contract if ABS-CBN’s franchise will not be renewed.
“Hindi po ako puwedeng huminto. Hindi po ako puwedeng ngumanga (kasi) marami pong umaasa sa akin,” Pokwang said in an August 2020 interview.
“Ang laki po talaga ng nabago ng buhay ko at nagpapasalamat po ako nang sobra-sobra sa ABS-CBN, sa mga nagtiwala sa akin…” she added before.
Roque on Wednesday clarified his “vacation” remark and said that the context was the unemployment that the pandemic caused.
“Ang konteksto lang nito, talagang maraming tao ang hindi nakapaghanapbuhay dahil dito sa pandemiyang ito. Kaya nga ninanais ng economic team na makahabol naman tayo, at iyon po ang konteksto na aking sinabi,” he said in a media interview.
“Hindi naman po talaga bakasyon ‘yan, kung hindi, hindi nakapagtatrabaho. Kaya ngayon na pupuwede na po tayong makapagtrabaho sana dahil nagbubukas na tayo ng ekonomiya, hayaan naman nating kumita at makapagtrabaho ang ating mga kababayan,” the spokesperson added.
Duterte placed the entire Luzon under enhanced community quarantine since March last year.
While some areas are now under the most relaxed quarantine phase, modified general community quarantine, some remain to be under general community quarantine, with limited business operations open.
The Philippines’ lockdown is deemed the longest-running in the world.