President Rodrigo Duterte warned mayors not to be remiss in convincing their constituents to get vaccinated against COVID 19 to achieve herd immunity before the year ends or they will answer to the Department of Interior and Local Government.
He also urged local government units (LGUs) to devise a more “systematic and efficient way” to determine who among their constituents have not been vaccinated yet.
“Please do everything to convince them to get vaccinated,” Duterte said.
“We need to ramp up the vaccination rate in various LGUs in order to reach our target of inoculating 50 million individuals by the end of the year. We cannot reach this target if we plateau at 400,000 or 500,000 daily jabs,” he said.
“It now depends on your approach, with the people, because there are barangay captains who belong to an opposing party, and others whobelong to your party. So there is a natural tendency of those of the opposite side to resist — even in matters like these,” Duterte said.
“Either you follow us or you have to answer to Secretary (Eduardo) Año of the DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government),” he added.
The President said local executives can be dismissed from office if they are slapped even with administrative charges.
"You know you have to impose your authority, not impose your will,” he said.
The President reiterated his appeal to mayors and the barangay captains to set aside half a day and to tell them who are not yet vaccinated and convince them to get the jab.
Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez said he has already spoken with the League of Governors and the League of Cities to ramp up vaccination to 70 percent by the end of December or January.
As of Oct. 24, the Philippines has received more than 97.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, and at least 55,715,693 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have so far been administered nationwide.
Of this number, 25,711,980 are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and 30,003,713 have received only their first dose.
Malacañang on Tuesday expressed confidence the country will soon return to normalcy, as more Filipinos are now heeding the government’s appeal to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
In an online press briefing, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the COVID-19 vaccination is key to the country’s full recovery from the pandemic.
“The vaccines are working. If a vaccinated person gets infected, they will only exhibit mild symptoms like ordinary flu. So it’s important that we get vaccinated, wear masks, wash hands, and observe social distancing,” Roque said.
Roque, who is in the United States, said the situation in Washington is now going back to normal for vaccinated individuals.
“You can see that if the vaccination rate is high, you can return to a normal life,” Roque, who is already fully vaccinated, said.
Also on Tuesday, the National Capital Region Police Office on Tuesday reiterated its call on the public to be wary of fake news and other misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines, and warned that such acts are punishable by law.
"Unfortunately, fake and unfounded news about the vaccine circulated causing doubt and confusion about the efficiency of the COVID-19 vaccine. Among this is the misconception that the vaccine’s protection will be outweighed by alleged side effects that have no medical basis whatsoever," said NCRPO director Maj. Gen. Vicente Danao Jr. in a statement.
Danao reminded the public that spreading fake news is a crime prohibited under Republic Act 11469 (Bayanihan to Heal as One Act).
The law penalizes individuals or groups creating or spreading false information regarding the COVID-19 crisis on social media and other platforms with two months of imprisonment and up to P1 million in fines.