MANILA – The Quezon City Health Department (QCHD) has denied claims on social media that police personnel were caught cutting in line at a vaccination center.
QCHD head Dr. Esperanza Arias said in a statement on Tuesday evening that the policemen could not have cut in line because their queue for registration was separate from that for medical front-liners.
Arias said the QCHD had to make a separate line for the police officers after a technical problem in the registration system triggered a delay and a build-up at the entrance where the officers were staying.
“Kaya naipon ang ibang pulis sa pintuan ng registration area. Para hindi makasagabal sa daanan, minarapat naming papasukin na sila sa loob at maglaan ng isang pwesto para sa kanilang manual registration (Police personnel were stuck at the registration area. To avoid obstructing the passage, we decided to let them in and assign a post for their manual registration),” she said. “Ito ang nakunang tagpo ng isang nakapila sa linya ng medical front-liners (This was the scene captured by someone in the queue of the medical front-liners).”
On Tuesday, Altermidya posted on its Twitter account that Bantay Bata has received reports that about 30 Philippine National Police (PNP) personnel were seen cutting the line of health care workers belonging to the A1 priority list in the vaccination sites at the Emilio Aguinaldo Elementary School in QC.
The post further stated that the PNP is under the A4 category of the Department of Health -Inter-Agency Task Force (DOH-IATF) priority list.
However, Arias clarified that despite being men in uniform, policemen qualify in the A1 category as they are also considered health care workers and front-liners exposed to the threat of Covid-19.
“Ang higit na mahalagang punto, bagama’t sila ay men in uniform o pulis, sila po ay mga health workers din at nagsisilbi bilang contact tracer, swabbers, nurse na naka-duty sa quarantine facilities, tumutulong sa pag-aalaga ng Covid patients sa isolation facilities, at nakatalaga sa special concern lockdown areas (The more important point here is that aside from being police personnel, they are health workers who also serve as contact tracers, swabbers, and nurses assigned in quarantine facilities and help in taking care of Covid-19 patients in the isolation facilities. They are also assigned in special concern lockdown areas),” she said.
Arias said she has personally spoken to the person who posted the picture and has explained the reason for the delay in the registration of medical front-liners, who thought instead that the police officers were allowed to cut the lines.
Meanwhile, upon learning of the incident, QC Mayor Joy Belmonte immediately sent lawyer Rafael Vicente Calinisan, executive officer of the People’s Law Enforcement Board, to investigate.
Belmonte said Calinisan saw that the actions of the QCHD were in line with the process being enforced in the vaccination sites.
On Wednesday, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the public could report people cutting the line to the Health Facilities and Services Regulatory Bureau through its hotline, 8651-7800 local 2527. (PNA)