Duterte to LGUs: Don't let people wade through floods to get vaccinated

Published July 25, 2021, 1:08 AM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

President Duterte asked local government units (LGUs) to come up with a “more sane” method in vaccinating their constituents during rainy days as he noted they let the people queue in the flood for their anti-coronavirus (COVID-19) shot.

President Duterte tells local government units (LGUs) to be more circumspect after learning that some people had to wait in the flood and under the rain to get vaccinated against COVID-19. (RTVM Screenshots)

Duterte made the statement after seeing photos of people wading through the floods and enduring heavy rains while waiting their turn to be vaccinated.

In his pre-recorded meeting with the government’s pandemic task force, Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez Jr. told the President there was no let-up in the distribution of vaccines even during the rainy days. He showed a photo of people lining up in the flood waiting for their shot.

This, however, did not sit well with the Chief Executive, saying the problem was not with the vaccine supply but with how LGUs handled the situation.

“The problem is for the local government units to come up with [a] more sane process of vaccination than allowing people to queue as early as 4 o’clock in the morning and getting their shots at about 9 o’clock,” he said late Saturday, July 24.

“It seems to be, to me, not the way to vaccinate people,” he added.

According to the President, LGUs should have immediately looked for another dry place where people can get vaccinated instead of exposing them to health risks.

“People are exposed in the open, unprotected from the elements, tapos (while) waiting for a chance to have the shot,” Duterte said.

“Tama ‘yan– leptospirosis, influenza. Pag tinamaan ‘yan ng simple cold, it can deteriorate to a respiratory problem. ‘Pag sinakyan pa ng COVID, patay na (It’s true they are at risk for leptospirosis and influenza. If they catch a simple cold, it can deteriorate to a respiratory problem. If COVID comes into the picture, then it’s finished),” he added.

Duterte asked the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to possibly issue a directive enjoining LGUs to be more circumspect, especially during the rainy days.

“We have to be more proactive than just maybe setting a venue then without a mechanism of how to transfer it, and at the same time informing the people of the new site,” he said.

“Waiting as early as 4 o’clock in the morning… To me, it is not… It’s bullshit, actually… Umagang-umaga, naku Diyos ko po. Bakit naman ganon (That was very early in the morning. My God. Why did you let that happen)?” he added.

The President suggested that LGUs should be “flexible enough” to immediately look for a dry place that can house the people waiting to be vaccinated.

He said during similar situations, LGUs should divide the people into groups and make a headcount of how many they can accommodate. They should just ask the people to return at a later time instead of letting them wait in the flood under the rain.

“It’s a question of common sense, eh. Hindi na nila ginamit (They did not use it),” Duterte said.

“It has to take into account the weather now and the place where they should be waiting. That ought not to be repeated, I suppose. Kawawa yung tao (The people are pitiful),” he added.

As of July 21, a total of 15,953,911 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered with 5,231,469 individuals receiving the required two doses since the vaccination program started on March 1.