Malacañang said that the plan of the local government of Lapu-Lapu City in Cebu to impose a “no vaccine, no entry” policy in supermarkets was not timely as there were still many people who have yet to get vaccinated against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Roque made the statement after a portion of an executive order of Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard Quirante ‘Ahong’ Chan made the rounds on social media for allowing only vaccinated persons to enter public and private markets, including convenience stores, starting August 25.
In his press briefing on Monday, August 2, Roque said while Chan’s order was commendable as it tried to prevent the spread of the virus, it was not timely.
“I commend Mayor Ahong [Chan] of Lapu-Lapu for this innovation pero siguro ‘di pa napapanahon (but it is not the time for that yet),” he said.
According to Roque, countries like France and the United States of America were able to implement such a policy of limiting the movement of the unvaccinated people because they were already able to inoculate more than half of their population.
“Siguro po hintayin muna natin na at least 50 percent ng ating population ay mabakunahan (Perhaps we should wait until we have vaccinated at least 50 percent of our population),” he said.
“I hope you (Chan) understand po kasi kung karamihan naman ay hindi bakunado, hindi makapunta ng pamilihan, eh paano sila kukuha ng kanilang kakainin (I hope Mayor Chan understands because if the majority of the people are not vaccinated and cannot enter markets, then how can they get their food)?” he added.
The Palace official, meanwhile, reminded local chief executives that there were consequences for imposing policies not approved by the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
Roque said a local government unit (LGU) may not receive assistance from the national government if they would implement stricter restrictions.
“Kapag kayo ay nag-impose ng mas strict na restrictions, baka hindi kayo makakatanggap ng ayuda (If you impose stricter restrictions, you may not receive financial assistance),” he said.
“Siguro po ang LGUs ang dapat magbigay ng ayuda. Yung LGUs ang dapat maghatid ng mga groceries dahil hindi naman pwede na hindi sila makapamili ng kanilang mga pang-araw-araw na pangangailangan (It would be the LGUs who should provide their constituents with cash aid. They would also have to distribute groceries because their people were not allowed to get their daily needs),” he added.
Last month, Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion urged the government to make “bold moves” like limiting the movement of the unvaccinated population to prevent the further spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19.
President Duterte likewise floated the idea of ordering the police and barangay officials to not let unvaccinated people out, saying they were walking spreaders of the disease.