Duterte urges local officials to address vaccine hesitancy

LOCAL officials should double their efforts in convincing their unvaccinated constituents to get COVID-19 shot, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte said on Monday, warning uncooperative officials that they could be held accountable under the guidelines if they fail to do their job.

“I urge LGUs to come up with the most systematic and efficient way of finding out who among your constituents have not yet vaccinated. Please do everything to convince them to get vaccinated,” President Duterte said during his weekly public address on government interventions on COVID-19 pandemic.

Local officials such as mayors and barangay captains should impose their authority to convince people to get COVID-19 jab, he said. He appealed to the officials to do rounds and see to it that everyone gets immunized.

“I’d like to appeal to the mayors and the barangay captains na magpasyal lang siya ng kalahating araw, tanungin niya kung sino pang hindi nabakunahan at sabihin niya na kung mayroong scheduled na bakuna, he will see to it na sabihin mo, ‘gusto kitang makita doon kasi maghahawa-hawa ka lang ng ibang tao kung ayaw mo,’” he said.

To those belonging to the opposition and remain uncooperative with the administration, the President reminded them of their obligations in the midst of the current pandemic, noting they could be held accountable by the secretary of the interior and local government.

Officials not doing their duties could face suspension or dismissal, he warned.

“Kaya ako sinasabi ko sa kanila either you follow us or you have to answer to Secretary Año ng DILG. Siya ‘yung nagsu-supervise sa local governments. Ang mangyari niyan, talagang magkakaroon ka ng kaso,” the President pointed out.

“And bear in mind that alam mo ang kaso, even administratively, you can be dismissed. It includes dismissals from office; suspension, mga ganoon; forfeiture of pay; or outright dismissal.”

There should be no quarrel among officials and partisan politics must be set aside at this time as the national government carries out its mass inoculation drive to address the current health crisis, he stressed.

Highlighting the role of the LGUs in the government’s vaccination drive, President Duterte said there’s a need to ramp up the inoculation rate in various localities to reach the target of fully immunizing 50 million individuals by the end of the year.


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