Official Statement of Daniel Fernando regarding the Manila Times column written by Mr. Dante Ang entitled “Bulacan Gov. Daniel Fernando, No Ordinary Man.”
This is article revolved around an incident that took place on May 8, 2020 when I went to SBMA to personally bring assistance to a close relative undergoing dialysis. They have previously called me to help them in their dire situation and I decided to make the trip as they are not allowed to travel due to the lockdown. I also thought of it as an opportunity to visit and extend help to Bulakenyos stranded in the area needing immediate help.
Upon arriving at Tipo Gate at the SBMA we were advised to stop saying that we cannot enter as the area is blocked under ECQ protocol. I requested to speak to SBMA Administrator Wilma Eisma to clarify the matter. On the phone, I respectfully asked for her permission to allow us entry as it is the shortest route to our destination – Morong, Bataan. I also explained to her that I had to immediately come back the same day to the Provincial Capitol for an important appointment. She refused my request saying she needed to follow certain guidelines of the SBMA as it pertains to the ECQ guidelines. It is at that point that I had to call Gen. Carlito G. Galvez (Ret.) of the Inter-Agency Task Force for Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID) to clarify if I had violated the ECQ protocol.
I am fully aware that I did not violate any law in accordance with the Omnibus Guidelines of the Community Quarantine issued by the IATF. As an APOR (Authorized Person Outside of Residence), I am allowed to travel within and across areas under any form of community quarantine in order to do my duty and render humanitarian service.
All these notwithstanding, I gave due respect and abided by Administrator Eisma’s decision and did not pursue my plan to enter SBMA any longer. In her personal text message to my staff later that day, the administrator even apologized for refusing us entry which I accepted, thinking that will settle the whole issue.
A week after the incident, the article based on the narrative of Administrator Eisma painted a very different story. I categorically deny that, as the article mentioned, I “savaged” the administrator. Or that I said, “Hindi mo man lamang ako binigyan ng galang. Hindi naman ako ordinaryong tao” (You did not even give me the respect due me. I am not an ordinary man). I recall that although I was deeply upset at the time, I never said anything to mean that I am entitled to special treatment just because I am a Governor. What I reiterated to her was that as a local chief executive, I am permitted by law to travel to respond to constituents locked down in another province and seeking my help.
It saddens me that said article have already cast judgment on my person and placed me in a very bad light. Worst, it is being carelessly passed around on social media and celebrated by my political detractors. I am confident however that the people of Bulacan knows me better than that, and would not judge me based on a biased narrative.
I have spoken to Mr. Dante Ang today to explain my side. I thank him for giving me the chance to clarify matters in the spirit of truth and fairness. Most of all, I owe this explanation to my fellow Bulakeños who have suffered enough from this pandemic and do not deserve this kind of untruthful information. To those who add fuel to the fire to make this matter worse, I appeal to all of you, let us take politics and personal issues aside in these trying times. That is the least we can do in the service of our people.