MANILA – Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo on Wednesday said there is “justification” in moving mayors up on the vaccine priority list, noting that they were always dealing with their constituents on the ground.
Panelo made this remark as he wished Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte a speedy recover after she tested positive for Covid-19 anew.
“There is justification doon sa mga mayor na gusto nila makunsidera na mga front-liner din sila kasi they go around (There is justification in mayors asking to be considered as front-liners because they go around), they attend to their constituents,” he said in his online commentary show “Counterpoint”.
On Monday, Belmonte announced that she has contracted Covid-19 anew. She said she is experiencing mild symptoms.
“Eight months after my first bout with Covid-19, I am very sad to report that I have once again tested positive for the virus. As many doctors have continued to remind us, Covid-19 is an ongoing and evolving pandemic, and we should not let our guard down under any circumstances,” Belmonte said.
Malacañang earlier announced that local government unit (LGU) officials are now part of the “A4” priority with economic front-liners in essential industries.
There are currently around 1,634 provincial governors and city and municipal mayors and 42,046 barangay chairpersons all over the country.
Other government officials, such as Cabinet members, remain under the “B2” category.
Panelo, meanwhile, also wished for the speedy recovery of Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar and former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada.
“Pagaling kayo Sec. Martin at Mayor Joy Belmonte at dating Presidente Erap. Kami po ay kasama ninyo sa pananalangin sa inyong madaliang paggaling sa inyong mga sakit (Get well soon Secretary Martin, Mayor Joy Belmonte and former President Erap. We are with you in praying for your speedy recovery),” he said.
Andanar announced that he tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday. He is currently asymptomatic but under isolation.
Estrada’s son former Senator Jinggoy Estrada confirmed in a radio program that his father contracted Covid-19 on Monday.
Senior citizens and persons with comorbidities have started getting vaccinated alongside frontline healthcare workers against Covid-19.
The Philippines aims to secure 148 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines from several companies to inoculate an initial 50 to 70 million Filipinos this year, but it is not making inoculation mandatory. (PNA)