Taguig’s Cayetano favors shift to GCQ, hits ‘irresponsible’ comments on vaccine expiration

Published May 13, 2021, 1:11 PM

by Jonathan Hicap

Taguig Mayor Lino Cayetano said he personally favors shifting his city to the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) when the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) status ends on May 14 but said he will abide by the decision of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

COVID-19 vaccination in Taguig (Taguig City government / MANILA BULLETIN)

The NCR Plus area consisting of the National Capital Region, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal is under MECQ until May 14.

“Personally, I think the City of Taguig has been ready since November last year to downgrade. But Taguig City is not an island. Metro Manila is one ecosystem. We are only as strong as our weakest link. Taguig is only as strong as its weakest barangay,” said Cayetano at the symbolic vaccination of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at the Lakeshore Mega Vaccination Hub in Taguig Thursday together with members of the IATF.

He said Taguig cannot decide on its own regarding the community quarantine, saying, “That is something that the various LGUs (local government units) have accepted. Even if we can in Taguig, Makati, Manila, we are really dependent because the ecosystem of Metro Manila is interdependent.” “So for Taguig, yes, but we will not decide independently because we need the input of the other mayors as well as the economic managers,” he added.

Cayetano also criticized the comment of Dr. Tony Leachon, former Special Adviser to the National Task Force on COVID-19, who warned that the Philippine government will waste vaccines because of the expiry dates.

“Utter mismanagement. DOH [Department of Health] should have alerted the LGUs on the expiry date way ahead of time to prepare the vaccination centers and the people given the high vaccination hesitancy rate. We are racing against time!” Leachon posted on Twitter.

Leachon said, “The government should just give the stocks that will expire in June to the competent private sector then let them do the vaccination. They can just give back what they got when their stocks arrive in June. LGUs still loaded w sinovac stocks. We have not yet finished the 3M doses of Sinovac. We’re just half way through them. Sayang… super sayang!” According to Cayetano, “I think it is quite irresponsible that one doctor posted that the vaccines will spoil without knowing the facts.” He said the first batch of vaccines will expire at the end of June and half of it will expire in July but “we have a lot of time to vaccinate. Even if we have a lot of time, we are in a hurry.” The mayor said Taguig has 28,000 vaccines and the city government can vaccinate 5,000 per day and it will be finished in seven days.

“Now that the vaccines are here, it is sad that the next thing we are saying is that we cannot mobilize for distribution,” he said. “You give us the vaccines, the LGUs will find a way.” “Our rollout is 2,000 because we have 2,000. If you give us 5,000, we will find a way to roll it out,” he added.

Cayetano said the fear that the vaccines will spoil is “nonsense. First, Metro Manila can dispose of it in a matter of two weeks. On the part of Taguig, we can do it in seven days.”