The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) lauded Malacanan’s move to include local chief executives (LCEs) in the priority list of those who would be vaccinated against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
In a statement, the DILG said mayors and governors should really be prioritized since they are frontliners in the government’s COVID response, especially in the delivery of public service amid the pandemic.
DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año said that LCEs being upgraded to the vaccination priority list at A1.5 category is a good move by the national government, adding that as elected officials, mayors and governors are in the great risk of exposure and infection as they are expected to be at the forefront of the COVID-19 crisis.
“Our governors and mayors are the heads of the local COVID-19 task forces, so it’s just right that they are prioritized since they perform a vital role in defeating the pandemic on the local level. In fact, all major programs of government are implemented locally by the mayors, therefore they are critical to the success of everything that we do,” Año said.
Through Resolution No. 115-B of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID), 1,634 provincial governors and city and municipal mayors will move up the vaccination priority list under the A1.5 category regardless of the risk classification of their respective local government units (LGUs).
The DILG chief noted that as the leaders of provincial, city, and municipal governments, LCEs are bound by the law to be on top of all the COVID-19 efforts within their jurisdictions and enforce all COVID-related policies and measures including prevention, detection, isolation, treatment, and rehabilitation.
In a press briefing, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the LCE are enforcing localized lockdowns and vaccination describing them as instruments in the fight against the virus.
“They (LCEs) may not be doctors, but they are equally frontliners dahil lahat po ng istratehiya natin ang mga humaharap po ang mga lokal na opisyales, si mayors at si governor (since in all our strategies the local officials, the mayors and the governors are at the forefront),” he added.
Año also noted that since the pandemic is still raging, requiring the immediate delivery of services to people in need, LCEs cannot be expected to just stay in their offices but to do field work and extend the help to people entailing interactions and exposure.
Since the onset of the pandemic, Año stressed the DILG has been putting pressure on the LCEs, nudging them and ensuring that they are performing their assigned tasks.
He said that guaranteeing that they are safe from the virus, through COVID-19 inoculation, is one way of protecting the people. (Chito A. Chavez)