BACOLOD CITY – The Emergency Operations Task Force (EO-TF) here has postponed plans to vaccinate Mayor Evelio Leonardia and village officials after the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) called out local chief executives (LCEs) who were already inoculated against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
City Administrator Em Ang, who sits as the EOC-TF executive director, said Leonardia was scheduled to be vaccinated in rites set at the Bacolod City Government Center on Wednesday, but on Tuesday night Dr. Edwin Miraflor, officer-in-charge of the City Health Office (CHO), announced that the vaccination activity will not push through.
“We deemed it best to postpone it in view of the fact that there were mayors who were issued show-cause order (by the DILG), aside from a congresswoman who was also investigated for availing the vaccine ahead (of other priority sectors),” Ang said in a radio interview on Wednesday.
For his part, Miraflor said that he misunderstood the classification of the LCEs as under Category A.1.4., which means they are fourth in line under Category A1, when in fact, city mayors like Leonardia are actually under Category A4.
He said the EOC and the Vaccination Operations Center, with the best of intentions and in the hopes of encouraging Bacolodnons to take active part in the vaccination program, scheduled a ceremonial vaccination of Leonardia and the barangay captains.
“However, after further clarification has been made and upon review of circumstances, we regret that we need to postpone the intended activity,” he said.
During the launch of the city’s vaccination program on March 5, Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran and some four members of the City Council volunteered to be vaccinated, but after Leonardia was advised by vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. to prioritize the health workers, the mayor asked his fellow city officials to defer taking the vaccine.
Last week, Leonardia, the national president of the League of Cities of the Philippines, lauded the decision of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to include local chief executives (LCEs) in the priority sectors for vaccination against Covid-19.
The mayor said the development means that the 1,634 provincial governors, city and municipal mayors as well as the 42,046 barangay chairmen all over the country will be classified as essential workers under Category A4. (PNA)