Sorsogon Governor Francis “Chiz” Escudero has urged the national government to reconsider its plan to sanction local government units (LGUs) who are unable to expedite its vaccination rollout and reach their targets due to logistics and manpower issues.
Escudero, who is seeking a fresh term in the Senate in the upcoming May 2022 elections, said it was “unfair” to penalize LGUs for alleged poor performance in vaccinating their constituencies, referring to the Department of the Interior and Local Government’s (DILG) announcement it will penalize LGUs that fail to meet their vaccination targets.
“Maging makatarungan sana sila sa panahong na binibigay sa amin (I hope they would be fair in giving us time to achieve our target),” Escudero said on Tuesday night during a DZMM radio interview,
Besides, he pointed out it took the National Capital Region (NCR) eight months to vaccinate 88 percent of Metro Manila residents.
Compared to Metro Manila, LGUs were just given barely two months to complete their vaccination program while vaccines and supplies have yet to reach many provinces.
“Ang binibigay sa amin matapos kaming bigyan ng sapat na bilang o doses ng bakuna ay humigit kumulang tatlong buwan lamang hanggang Dec. 15 (After giving us vaccine supplies we were only given less than three months or until Dec. 15),” Escudero pointed out.
“So, pagtabihin mo man ‘yon kahit kailan walang magsasabing makatarungan ‘yung comparison na ‘yun (So if you compare, you cannot say it was fair to make the comparison),” he argued.
Escudero pointed out it is impossible for LGUs who were given COVID-19 vaccines on the last minute to rushed and finish their vaccination program by December.
He said it was only last October that Sorsogon started receiving 20,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccines.
“Last week, they sent 46,000 doses of Pfizer. The problem is they did not send enough syringes. We were not informed about it so now we have to purchase some,” Escudero complained.
He also said that while Sorsogon may have sufficient supplies of the vaccines now, there might not be enough manpower to handle the daily vaccination activities as their doctors and nurses have other duties to do in the hospitals.
Just like many other LGUs in the country, Escudero said their province do not have enough doctors and nurses. Aside from vaccination, they also need to maintain hospitals.
“So liwanagin nila ang kautusan nila kung ‘yan talaga ang gusto nilang gawin at tiyakin nila na wala rin silang pagkukulang at tiyakin rin nila na pantay din ang pagkakataon na binigay sa LGU bago sila magpataw ng anumang parusa (So they should clarify that order if that is really what they want to do. They should also make sure that they were not remiss in their duties and make sure they treated LGUs fairly before they impose any penalties),” the former lawmaker stressed.