MANILA – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Wednesday has ordered five local chief executives to explain their inoculation with coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccine, which violates the government’s vaccination priority listing.
“Well, sa tingin namin may paglabag kaya pinaldahan na namin ngayon ng show cause orders para magpaliwanag sila kung bakit sila nagpabakuna ahead of the others doon sa priority list doon sa national deployment and vaccination program (We think they committed a violation, that’s why we already sent them a show cause order to explain why they decided to ignore the priority list under the national government’s deployment and vaccination program),” DILG Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III said in a radio interview.
Densing said these include Alfred Romualdez of Tacloban City, Leyte; Dibu Tuan of T’boli, South Cotabato; Sulpicio Villalobos of Sto. Niño town, South Cotabato; Noel Rosal of Legazpi City, Albay and Abraham Ibba of Bataraza, Palawan.
He added that they are still verifying reports of other local officials who skipped the vaccination priority queue.
When asked if these violations are punishable, Densing said that these cases are administrative in nature.
“Ngayon kung sila po ay mapapatunayang lumabag, ang gagawin po namin sa DILG is forward po namin itong complaint sa Ombudsman at ang Ombudsman na po ang magde-decide at magsasabi kung anong administrative sanction ang ibibigay sa kanila (Once proven that they have committed a violation, what we in the DILG will do is forward the complaint to the Ombudsman which will decide on what administrative sanctions that will be meted against them),” he added.
On Tuesday, Malacañang reiterated that local government officials are not yet allowed to receive the first Covid-19 vaccine shots as medical front-liners are the priority in the government’s vaccination drive.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque warned that future deliveries of vaccines through the Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) facility would be affected if a similar incident happens again.
The Department of Health also called on local government officials to wait for their turn and follow the approved prioritization framework in the vaccination drive employed by the national government. (with Priam Nepomuceno/PNA)