Unhampered vaccination despite upcoming polls assured

Malacañang on Tuesday assured that the country’s national vaccination drive will not be hampered despite the upcoming May 2022 national and local elections.

This, after National Task Force against Covid-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., expressed concern that the upcoming elections could have an impact on the daily vaccination output since local government units (LGUs) will be preoccupied as the election campaign kicks off next month.

“Of course, what we in the national government will do is make sure that hindi maha-hamper ang aming trabaho (our work will not be hampered), we will continue to focus on that,” Acting Presidential Spokesperson, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said in a Palace press briefing.

Nograles emphasized the need for coordination between national and local governments to ensure that vaccination and other government services will remain operational.

He also acknowledged that some LGU officials are also running for reelection.

“The reality siyempre (of course) is that we have to coordinate with the local government units. And ang reality din po, pagdating naman sa local government units, many of them are elected public officials,” he added.

Nograles said the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) will have to ensure that LGUs continue to deliver vaccination services and remain “neutral” carrying out their duties.

“We will make sure that vaccination and our Covid response is not politicized and that everybody stays and remains neutral especially sa pamamahagi natin ng vaccines, dapat walang pinipili iyan (in administering vaccines, they should not favor anyone). And we will make sure that the targets are met,” he said.

Get vaccinated

Meanwhile, Nograles urged senior citizens who have yet to receive their Covid-19 shots to get inoculated.

This, after the Department of Health bared that three million senior citizens remain unvaccinated. The country has over nine million Filipinos 60 years old and above as of 2019.

“Pakiusap namin sa mga lolo at lola at sa kanilang mga mahal sa buhay (I appeal to our grandfathers and grandmothers and their loved ones), for yourselves and for your families, please get vaccinated. Our seniors are vulnerable to Covid-19,” Nograles said.

He reminded them that senior citizens are at highest risk of deaths due to Covid-19.

“Mas kailangan nila ng dagdag proteksyon na binibigay ng bakuna kahit ano pa ang brand nito. Hindi na po problema ang supply ng bakuna,” he added.

As of January 10, over 52.8 million individuals have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 in the country.

The Philippines aims to vaccinate 90 million by June.

Bigger fight

Meanwhile, Nograles thumbed down a lawmaker’s proposal for the Senate and House to convene as a constituent assembly to discuss the proposal pushing for longer terms for the president, congressmen, and local officials.

“May paparating na election sa May 2022. At sa palagay ko wala nang oras ang Kongreso sa panukalang ito (Elections are coming in May 2022. And I think Congress has no time to tackle this proposal,” he said.

Aside from the upcoming polls, he said the government must prioritize the country’s fight against Covid-19.

“Isa pa, mayroon tayong mas mabigat na laban at ito po ang laban against Covid-19 (We have a bigger fight to face and this is the fight against Covid-19),” he added.

Pampanga Representative Aurelio Gonzales, an ally of President Duterte, earlier pushed for a five-year term for the president and vice president. He also wants them to be allowed to run for reelection for another term under the proposal.

He also wanted a term of five years with one reelection for House members.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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