Malacañang yesterday told mayors to follow the priority list for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccination.
In a virtual press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque warned anew that the Philippines could lose more than 40 million vaccine vials allocated by the Vaccines Global Access Facility to the Philippines if mayors continue to jump the line for Covid-19 vaccination.
“To all the mayors, stop it already. If you continue skipping the line, we would lose about 44 million dosages of COVAX Facility vaccines. So please, we ask for your indulgence,” Roque said.
He issued the statement a day after President Rodrigo Duterte acknowledged a “grey area” in the inoculation of some local chief executives.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government had issued show-cause orders to mayors Alfred Romualdez (Tacloban City, Leyte), Dibu Tuan (T’boli, South Cotabato), Sulpicio Villalobos (Sto Niño, South Cotabato), Noel Rosal (Legazpi, Albay), and Abraham Ibba (Bataraza, Palawan) after receiving Covid-19 vaccine jabs while the inoculation of medical front-liners is ongoing.
Apart from the five, Duterte confirmed in his public address delivered Wednesday night that mayors Elanito Peña (Minglanilla, Cebu), Victoriano Torres III (Alicia, Bohol), Virgilio Mendez (San Miguel, Bohol), and Arturo Piollo II (Lila, Bohol) also got inoculated against Covid-19 ahead of other prioritized groups.
Roque said while Duterte understands the mayors’ decision to receive vaccine shots, it is still “wrong” to jump the Covid-19 vaccination line.
“I am sure good faith can be used as a defense. However, the President, while he said there is a grey area, is expecting that a similar incident would not happen again because we would risk the 44 million vaccines that we will receive through the COVAX Facility,” he said.
The Philippines is expected to receive a total of 44 million vaccine doses through the COVAX Facility within the year.
The country has so far received 525,600 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines through the World Health Organization-led COVAX Facility.*PNA