Solon fumes over rising COVID-19 deaths in Mindanao: 'I will fault you, vaccine czar!'

Published June 14, 2021, 4:57 PM

by Ben Rosario

With many of his constituents and even relatives dying of and currently afflicted with the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Deputy Speaker and Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez slammed national government officials for their alleged slow response to the immediate needs of Mindanao to battle the deadly disease.

Rodriguez vent out his anger on the alleged lack of support from government during a briefing given to members of the House Committee on Mindanao Affairs by officials of the Department of Health, Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases and other agencies behind the vaccination program against COVID-19.

Committee chairman and Lanao del Norte Rep. Khalid Dimaporo scheduled the urgent briefing on the Mindanao situation amid reports that key localities in the region have become COVID-19 hotspots in the past two weeks.

Dimaporo lamented the situation in Mindanao as he appeared to have agreed with the observations made by Rodriguez.

“We feel that there has not been much movement. We trully feel helpless because of the absence of communications between the vaccine czar and the affected areas,” Dimaporo stated.

The cities of Cagayan de Oro, General Santos, Koronadal, Cotabato and Davao have reportedly sustained high COVID-19 deaths and infections.

“They are giving a lot of vaccines to Metro Manila which is lowering (in COVID) cases already. If not for this meeting, they will not see the urgency of addressing the COVID situation in Mindanao,” said Rodriguez who was furious over the continued rise in number of infection in his district.

Rodriguez said relatives and a barangay official have not been spared by the devastating effects of the pandemic and died.

“I will fault you vaccine czar (referring to Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr.) for the death of our barangay captain and my family members,” the furious House official said.

He chided Galvez and Health Secretary Francisco Duque for failing to respond to his letter requesting for additional vaccine supply for his constituents and even to other areas in Mindanao.

“People died because of the inactivity of the vaccine czar,” the veteran administration solon declared, saying that his angry statement should be placed on record.

“It would have only been mild cases if you have given more (vaccines). Puro ito paghuhugas ng kamay (This is all washing of your hands),” stated Rodriguez.

The furious lawmaker said those tasked to take care of the country’s vaccine supply have neglected Mindanao and should be held liable for “criminal negligence.” “We are always second class citizens in Mindanao,” the lawmaker said although President Rodrigo Duterte is himself a native of the region.