Domagoso urged those who wanted to be vaccinated to remain calm and observe discipline. Domagoso made the call after Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna, who is on top of the city’s mass vaccination program, said they got information that throngs of people arrived on board vans and huge jeeps. The big groups from other areas outside of the city disregarded the cut-off and barriers, prompting a shopping mall designated as a vaccination hub to temporarily close down. The said throngs reportedly were rowdy, taking away the barriers put in the areas and insisting that they be allowed to continue queueing even if they were not even registered. Lacuna noted these persons were from outside Manila, from areas such as Laguna and Cavite and told the marshals they rushed to the sites due to rumors that those who are unvaccinated will be arrested if they go out of their house during the ECQ. The crowd estimates in the mall vaccination sites as provided by Manila Health Department (MHD) chief Dr. Arnold Pangan were as follows: SM San Lazaro -- 7,000 to 10,000 plus; SM Manila,5,000; Lucky Chinatown, 3,000 and Robinson’s Manila, 4,000. Before this, Lacuna said, the sites were handling 1,000 to 2,000 people a day. “And they are fully aware of the policies like the need to pre-register and have their QR codes ready, which was not the case with the throngs who went to the mall sites before dawn on Thursday. Lacuna also said the persons who want to get their jabs in Manila fully know that there is a cut-off. The unruly crowds forced the closure of the SM San Lazaro Mall and the cancellation of the vaccination slated there although the inoculation went on as scheduled in SM Manila, Lucky Chinatown and Robinson’s Manila. Lacuna said 2,500 doses had been allocated per mall site. The Quezon City government, meanwhile, emphasized it would have a no-walk-in policy in all vaccination sites to avoid overcrowding. With the threat of the Delta variant, Mayor Joy Belmonte raised deep concern over reports of increased numbers of walk-ins in vaccination sites.
“Until such time as Congress enacts legislation to the contrary, we stand by the DOLE’s policy,” she said. Workers and residents of Quezon City can register in the QCProtektodo Vaccination Program through the barangay-assisted process or by signing up through its online platform. She reminded workers to register as soon as possible so that once vaccine supplies arrive, they can be given an inoculation schedule right away. “They have to register because our system works on a first-in, first-out basis so the sooner they get in the list, the sooner they can get their schedule,” she said. The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has asked the National Bureau of Investigation to track down individuals spreading misinformation that unvaccinated people will not be given cash assistance while the National Capital Region is under a two-week hard lockdown. MMDA chairman Benjamin Abalos Jr. said news that only those who have been vaccinated shall be entitled to the financial assistance or ayuda are “fake and baseless.” “To set the record straight, the distribution of ayuda and benefits or privileges is not anchored on whether an individual has been inoculated” said Abalos. Meanwhile, he reiterated the commitment of the 17 local government units in Metro Manila to administer 250,000 jabs daily during the two-week ECQ period as the national government approved NCR’s request for 4 million vaccines to achieve population protection soon. To date, more than 10 million total doses have been administered in Metro Manila. With 4 million more, at least 45 percent of the NCR population will be inoculated after the lockdown. The Department of Health (DOH), too, clarified that whether one is vaccinated or not against COVID-19 vaccination will not have a bearing in employment or getting cash aid in areas with community quarantines. It said vaccination would continue even during the lockdown. “Let’s not believe fake news that vaccination status is needed for employment or receiving cash aid from the government. Avoid spreading fake news as it brings confusion to our countrymen,” the DOH said in a statement. The Palace on Thursday said it may ask Congress for a supplemental budget should it need additional funds for the cash aid program for households under lockdown. Citing Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, said the government will use dividends paid to the Bureau of Treasury by government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) to cover the P12-billion cash aid, Roque said. “We will look for funding sources for cash aid. Now, Secretary Dominguez said our funding source will be the dividends of GOCCs. If that won’t be enough, we have savings. If it is still not enough, we will ask for a supplemental budget from Congress,” he said. The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said it will expedite the implementation of Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers or TUPAD program to ensure that displaced workers would still be able to earn a living for their families instead of totally being unemployed. Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III expressed optimism that the country will bounce back after a two-week lockdown, as the Labor department continues to make interventions to protect and address the needs of workers during the ECQ period. “Because of this two-week lockdown, we expect to see that the employment rate will go downward and unemployment will increase. But it is only for two weeks. I am confident we will bounce back after the two-week lockdown,” Bello said in a statement. Bello has earlier requested a supplemental budget of P2 billion from the Department of Budget and Management to finance DOLE’s amelioration program COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program. In other developments: * The City of Taguig started its house-to-house distribution of food packs in the city as the government imposed a hard lockdown in Metro Manila. The distribution, according to Mayor Lino Edgardo Cayetano, was in anticipation of the two-week ECQ following the DOH’s confirmation of the local transmission of the highly contagious Delta variant in the Philippines. Each food pack includes rice, canned goods, coffee, energy drinks and instant noodles, good for consumption for three to four days. * Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi on Thursday called on the oil sector to continue to provide fuel discounts to frontliners and the public amid the transition to the ECQ starting Friday. “The rising prices of oil in the world market is regrettably beyond our control. However, we as members of the energy family could help the financial burden of our countrymen in our continued battle against the COVID-19 pandemic. Once again, I am appealing to our partners in the industry, the oil companies, if possible give fuel discounts to our frontliners and other countrymen in the face of the hardships due to the pandemic,” Cusi said in a video message. * The Commission on Human Rights called on the government to revisit its vaccination protocols. Spokesperson Jacqueline Ann de Guia said while they recognized the hard work of the local government units in ensuring public access to COVID-19 vaccines, it said there was room for improvement in ensuring the health and safety of people lining up for shots.