To put some teeth into my earlier announcement that I will never, ever allow the sale of anti-COVID 19 vaccines in the city of Manila, I signed before the weekend City Ordinance No. 8740.
My profound gratitude goes to Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna who is the presiding officer of the Manila City Council, Majority Floorleader Joel Chua and President Pro Tempore Ernesto Isip, Jr., for working overtime to fast-track the passage of the said ordinance in support of my resolve to thwart possible attempts at using the coronavirus for monetary gain, at the expense of our poor citizens.
The said ordinance prohibits any person, institution, corporation, group or organization from engaging in the sale, distribution or administration of COVID-19 vaccines for gain, income or profit, while the country is in a state of pubic health emergency and without full market authoritization issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Under the measure, violators face a fine of P5,000 and imprisonment not exceeding six months. If the violation is committed by a corporation or other juridical entity, the directors, officers, employees or other officers thereof responsible for the violation shall be charged and penalized.
In addition , the business license issued to the said persons, corporations, group or organizations shall be immediately revoked and they shall be banned from doing business in the City of Manila.
If for any reason or reasons, any part or provision of the said ordinance shall be held unconstitutional or invalid, other parts or provisions hereof, which are not affected, shall continue to be in full force and effect.
I cannot sit idly by while unscrupulous individuals exploit the situation we are in at the moment. Not on my watch.
Simply put, this money-making scheme is clearly a form of exploitation of the disadvantaged sectors of our society who cannot easily have any access to the vaccines, particularly those who are poor.
We in the city of Manila, particularly our personnel behind our mass vaccination program, have been working over and beyond the call of duty to double time with regard mass inoculation because we want to embrace and vaccinate as many as possible, knowing that those who want to get jabbed far outnumber the supply of vaccines that come our way.
This is why it is highly acceptable on my part to learn that there are some who intend to make money out of the sorry situation.
To me, the vaccines against COVID-19 must be made accessible to everyone and while the private sector is being allowed to acquire doses, the purpose is for them to provide for their own workers free of charge and not to make an enterprise out of it.
In the case of private organizations and companies, I strongly urge them to give the vaccines for free to their employes instead of charging the latter either via straight fee or salary deduction, because I assure you, this will not be tolerated in Manila.
I have committed to even provide these companies or organizations all the necessary assistance like the needed vaccinators, encoders, etcetera, all free of charge. I’m definite that our personnel will be happy and willing to do this.
Another reason why I am against the sale of vaccines in Manila is for the simple reason that once it is allowed, this will open the floodgate to the manufacture of fake products which, in turn, may result in unsuspecting individuals being vaccinated with fake doses.
The worst case scenario is such that one spends for a vaccine that is supposed to be free, only to end up being injected with possibly, plain water.
When this happens, many will be circulating under the false belief that they are already equipped with added protection against landing in severe or critical condition when they get infected. They will therefore expose themselves and others, in case they have COVID and are just asymptomatic.
Experts say that once we reach 70 percent in terms of mass inoculation, there is a possibility that we can defeat the coronavirus due to the creation of herd immunity.
Can you imagine if a good percentage of this were actualy vaccinated with fake vials or doses that were made available for sale? God forbid.
Gaya ng paulit-ulit kong sinasabi, kailangan ko ang tulong ninyong lahat. Walang magmamalasakit sa Maynila kundi tayo ding mga Batang Maynila. Manila, God first!
For updates on latest developments in the city of Manila, please visit my Facebook account – “Isko Moreno Domagoso.”