DILG to issue show cause order vs Mingla mayor for taking vaccine; LGU says no HCWs displaced
CEBU CITY, Philippines – The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Wednesday, March 24, 2021, announced it will be issuing a show-cause order against Minglanilla Mayor Elanito Peña.
In an interview with state-run Radyo Pilipinas, DILG Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III said they will be sending Peña a show-cause order to explain why he received the first dose of AstraZeneca’s vaccine on Tuesday, March 23.
Peña earlier confirmed that he was injected with the first dose of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine manufactured by AstraZeneca last Tuesday.
He said he was considered as a ‘frontliner’ since he heads the town’s anti-COVID-19 task force, and that he was given clearance by other municipal officials to be inoculated.
The local government of Minglanilla, in a statement issued on Wednesday, said there were no medical frontline workers in the locality displaced when the mayor received the vaccine, and that the mayor did so in order to ‘boost public confidence and trust in receiving the vaccines’.
READ: The official statement of the Municipality of Minglanilla after its mayor, Elanito Peña, was vaccinated with…
“The act of Mayor Peña has encouraged the constituents of Minglanilla, including those health workers who are hesitant and undecided, to finally submit themselves to be vaccinated,” the local government unit (LGU) said.
The two-page document was signed by Municipal Health Officer Dr. Jonah Maja Damazo, Assistant Municipal Health Officer Dr. Mae Vicente, and Town Councilors Jenny Young and Jaime Caumeran.
Local officials also said the town made its first COVID-19 vaccine rollout last March 16 at the Minglanilla District Hospital.
Vaccinations for medical workers from the municipality’s Rural Health Unit (RHU), and contact tracers, ambulance drivers, utility personnel in COVID-19 facilities, and security guards also began on March 19, the statement added.
They also said vaccination for Minglanilla’s barangay health workers, and members of the Barangay Health Emergency Response Team (BHERT) was made before Peña was injected with the first dose.
“While it is true that Mayor Lan got vaccinated together with the Barangay Health Workers and BHERT, the mayor got vaccinated later during the day and more than anything else, Mayor Lani did not purposely have himself inserted or prioritized in lieu of the Barangay Health Workers and Frontliners,” portions of the press release said.
However, these claims would run contrary to Peña’s earlier statements that the municipal government kicked off its first day of vaccine rollout on March 23, the same day he got jabbed with AstraZeneca.
The Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7) on Wednesday also said that Minglanilla only began its rollout of COVID-19 vaccines last March 17.
Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, spokesperson of DOH-7, said in a text message that their data showed two Minglanilla-based hospitals have begun rolling out their supply of COVID-19 vaccines since March 17.
These are San Lucas Hospital and Baking Medical Center, and not Minglanilla District Hospital, said Loreche.
Peña was not the only elected local official in the country confirmed to have been injected with COVID-19 vaccines despite existing guidelines from the national government, explicitly stating that medical and health frontline workers should be prioritized.
DILG on Wednesday also announced they have already given show-cause orders against five other mayors in the country.
They are Alfred Romualdez (Tacloban City, Leyte), Dibu Tuan (T’boli, South Cotabato), Sulpicio Villalobos (Sto. Niño, South Cotabato), Noel Rosal (Legazpi City, Albay), and Abraham Ibba (Bataraz, Palawan).
Minglanilla is a first-class municipality located 19 kilometers south of Cebu’s capital Cebu City.
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