Iloilo City mayor slams Roque, DOH over vaccine allocation

Published June 24, 2021, 2:06 PM

by Tara Yap

TRENAS. (Tara Yap)
ILOILO CITY – Mayor Jerry Treñas here clashed with national government officials, including presidential spokesperson Harry Roque and the Department of Health (DOH), over the allocation COVID-19 vaccines.

“Harry is okay, but sometimes, his mouth runs faster than his brain. Instead of finding ways to help us out, he is blaming us. What kind of a Secretary are you?” an irked Treñas said in response to Roque’s statement that people are lax in following health protocols.

Treñas had been critical against the national government in various statements and media interviews over the unfair allocation of vaccines for this city and the rest of Western Visayas where there has been a considerable surge in COVID-19 cases for almost a month.

Treñas also said he had a verbal joust with DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III.

Treñas has been asking for help from the national government in the past two weeks to augment medical personnel, medical equipment, antiviral medicines, and additional vaccines.

He also stepped up his attacks against the DOH Western Visayas. He demanded an explanation from Dr. Emilia Monicimpo, DOH Western Visayas director, on the alleged unaccounted 17,680 doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

The DOH Western Visayas released a statement explaining that the 17,680 doses went to public and private hospitals here and that these were used for Group A frontline workers, including doctors, nurses, medical technologists, and other hospital staff.

Treñas vented his ire against DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.

“We cannot shortchange the Ilonggos who have been waiting to be vaccinated. Iloilo City is more ready to vaccinate but we have no additional vaccines if we want to protect our people,” Treñas told Vergeire in a statement.

During the start of the pandemic last March 2020, Treñas has repeatedly criticized many national government agencies, including the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Education (DepEd), Office of Civil Defense (OCD), Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), and DOH for alleged poor response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Treñas claimed that Iloilo City was surviving the COVID-19 pandemic without the help of the national government. This city was even given the title as the “Wakanda of the Philippines.”