#ProtectVico trends as netizens call out critics of Sotto's response to the COVID-19 crisis

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 19) — Netizens are simply not having it with critics dismissing the leadership style and quick action of Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto amid the coronavirus disease outbreak.

#ProtectVico was trending all over Twitter Thursday afternoon with netizens rallying around the 29-year-old mayor who has been proactive in his consecutive efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the city.

In a span of hours, the hashtag has so far garnered over 27,000 tweets from netizens calling out various personalities and administration supporters for "hate speech" and other supposed verbal attacks against the local chief executive, whom they claim, was "only doing his job" amid the crisis.

Even celebrity Ethel Booba did not mince words against critics of the mayor.

"Mga virus lang ang galit sa magandang ginagawa ni Mayor Vico Sotto para sa kaligtasan ng nasasakupan nito sa Pasig City. Charot!" she tweeted.

[Translation: Only viruses can get mad at the efforts initiated by Mayor Vico Sotto for the safety of his constituents in Pasig City.]

Through her online propaganda blog, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration deputy administrator Mocha Uson shared a Facebook post late Wednesday night which described the young mayor as "pabebe," and called on the Interior Department to strictly enforce the law prohibiting tricycles from operating in cities as the entire Luzon undergoes the enhanced community quarantine.

On Thursday, Interior Department spokesperson Jonathan Malaya warned that they will file charges against Metro Manila officials who will violate the national government's guidelines on the protocol.

Sotto previously ordered the mobilization of tricycles to assist health workers and patients who have no other means of transportation to hospitals — a move which Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said violates rules on social distancing.

Sotto also earlier assured employees of the city government that they will still receive their regular salaries even if they are not required to report to work for the month. Frontline workers will also receive hazard and overtime pay, and other means of compensation.

He also allocated 400,000 food packs and 8,000 bottles of vitamins worth over ₱160 million to residents during the enhanced community quarantine.

Luzon will be under quarantine until April 13 as the government tries to address the rising cases of COVID-19 in the country.

As of Thursday, the Philippines has recorded a total of 217 COVID-19 cases, with 17 fatalities and eight recoveries.