The government’s pandemic task force has placed governors and mayors further up in the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination program priority list, putting them right behind medical frontliners and ahead of senior citizens.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases decided to place governors and mayors in Priority Group A1.5.
This upgraded the classification of 1,634 provincial governors and city and municipal mayors in the priority list for the vaccination program.
In his press briefing on Monday, Roque defended the decision of the IATF, saying the local chief executives have been the ones implementing the government’s anti-COVID-19 measures.
“Kasi po ang mga mayor at gobernador ang nagpapatupad po ng (Because mayors and governors are the ones implementing the) prevention, detection, isolation, treatment, and rehabilitation [strategy] na (that is a) cornerstone of our COVID program,” he said.
Roque said local chief executives may not be doctors but they were instrumental in the country’s fight against the pandemic.
“Sila po ang nagpapatupad ng localized lockdown, sila po ang nagpapatupad ng vaccination, sila po talaga ang intrumento sa paglaban natin sa COVID-19 (They are the ones implementing the localized lockdown and the vaccination so they really are instrumental in our fight against COVID-19),” he said.
“They may not be doctors but they are equally frontliners, dahil lahat po ng stratehiya natin, ang humaharap ang lokal na mga opisyales, si mayor at si governor (because all of our strategies are being undertaken by them, our mayors and governors),” he added.
Government officials were originally under Priority Group B2 until the IATF moved them up to Priority Group A4 as government frontliners in March this year.
The vaccination program of the government prioritizes medical frontliners (A1), senior citizens (A2), persons with comorbidities (A3), and government and economic frontliners (A4).