“Nag-fofocus tayo sa mga bagay na sa tingin natin importante,” Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto said on the former mayor’s claims.
In a series of social media posts recently, former mayor Robert “Bobby” Eusebio, whose family’s 27-year reign in the city ended after Sotto won the 2019 elections, pointed out how bare the streets are in Pasig City during the Christmas holidays.
“Parating na siya si Hesukristo ang ating manunubos. Pasig, ano na ang nangyari? Walang parol? Walang kumukutitap sa kalsada? Hindi maramdaman ang diwa ng Pasko,” read Eusebio’s Facebook post, which was accompanied with photos of parts of the city with no to little Christmas lights.
Pre-pandemic, Pasig City was known for having Christmas-decor festooned areas—from lampposts to buildings—and holding its annual lights and lantern parade called “Paskotitap.”
“Pandemic pa din ba ang dahilan? Dito sa atin, ito ang makikita sa ating lungsod,” the post read.
Eusebio’s Facebook page also contains posts that applaud other local government units (LGUs) for their Christmas decorations, seemingly taking a swipe at Sotto.
When asked by ABS-CBN News about Eusebio’s allegations, Sotto belied the former mayor’s claim that the city is devoid of the Christmas spirit due to lack of holiday decorations.
“Mayroon naman, hindi lang siguro siya nakaka-ikot. Hindi lang ganoon karami,” said Sotto.
He added, “Nag-fofocus tayo sa mga bagay na sa tingin natin importante.”
Nagsimula na! PAMASKONG HANDOG 2021!— Vico Sotto (@VicoSotto) November 29, 2021
Higit sa kasiyahang ibinibigay sa atin ng pandagdag-Noche Buena na ito,
patotoo ang Pamaskong Handog na posible ang paggogobyerno na pantay-pantay ang tingin sa bawat isa, kaibigan man o hindi.#MerryChristmas pic.twitter.com/5ihG5f9h29
On Nov. 29, Sotto posted on his social media accounts that the city’s Pamaskong Handog is ready for distribution to residents. According to Sotto, each Pamaskong Handog bag contains products worth P625.67. And for 375,000 bags for Pasig residents, the total price came at about P234.6 million.
Sotto assures that each family in Pasig will receive a Christmas food pack for the holidays.
“Halimbawa dati, ang nabibigyan lang ng Pamaskong Handog, kung sino ‘yung malapit sa nakaupo. Ngayon binibigyan natin, bawat household ng Pamaskong Handog. Lahat ng bahay dito sa 30 barangays ng Pasig, bawat pamilya nabibigyan po ngayon,” he told ABS-CBN.
“‘Yun din ang hinahanap ng tao. Ako, bilang mayor, kung anong mas gusto ng tao, ‘yun ang binibigay natin using their funds. Hindi lang kung ano ‘yung gusto ko, kundi kung ano ‘yung gusto ng tao,” Sotto said.
This was echoed by many Pasigueños who trooped to the comments section of Eusebio’s Facebook post to express disagreement on the former mayor's observation.
“Maganda ho ang alokasyon ng budget ng Pasig ngayon. Mas malaki ang natipid na pwede pa ilaan sa ibang bagay,” a netizen wrote. “May mga pailaw naman, hindi nga lang ganun ka-en grande pero hindi naman ‘yun ang mahalaga… Madami pa hong prublema mayroon anf lungsod bukod sa pandemya, sana ho hindi tayo ganito kababaw.”
Another netizen pointed out that the local government is being practical by deciding to pare down on Christmas decorations this year.
“It’s called being practical, instead of purchasing or paying for the installation of Christmas lights and other decorations, they use it for projects that will last for years and food to be distributed to each family living in Pasig.”
Others also called out the former mayor for politicizing the Christmas holidays.
Eusebio’s string of posts seems to have backfired on him as Pasigueños continue to engage in the comments section, some of them sending photos as "receipts" of the LGU's projects and efforts to challenge the former mayor’s claims.