The national Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has just approved the inclusion of local chief executives (LCEs) among the priorities for COVID-19 vaccination, Bacolod Mayor Evelio “Bing” Leonardia, who is also president of the League of Cities of the Philippines, said Thursday, March 18.
“This means the 1,634 provincial governors, city and municipal mayors will be covered. Also included are 42,046 barangay captains all over the country,” said Leonardia, who was informed of the approval of his request by Local Government Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III.
LCEs will be classified as essential workers under Category A4, Leonardia said.
“We salute Undersecretary Densing for the very quick response because it was only on Saturday, March 13, during his visit to Bacolod, when as national president of the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP), I appealed to him to elevate this matter to the NIATF,” he said,
The rationale, among others, is that the LCEs are in reality also frontliners in the fight against Covid19. The exposure and risks they encounter on a day-to-day basis as they serve their constituents are also very high, Leonardia said.
He said Silay City Mayor Mark Golez and Bacolod Councilor Renecito Novero also pushed for the inclusion of the LCEs in the meeting with Densing.
“We are sure this development will inspire and encourage our LCEs to even work harder and more effectively in the implementation of our COVID-19 programs, especially now that we are accelerating our efforts to vaccinate as many of our people and as fast as possible,” Leonardia said.
He also asked Densing if they could also include other officials down the barangay kagawads but the undersecretary said this is just a start, he added.
“So we should expect accommodating more officials as vaccine supplies also increase,” Leonardia said.*