Cebu City welcomes DILG probe on ‘no vaccine no dine-in’ policy
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) will soon see the benefit of giving vaccinated individuals privileges in opening the economy without discrimination to unvaccinated individuals.
This was the statement of Cebu City Vice Mayor Michael Rama following the announcement of DILG Secretary Eduardo Año that they will be looking into the city’s “no vaccination no dine-in” policy that was issued by Rama when he served as acting mayor on September 7, 2021.
This was not the first time the DILG has criticized the policy as Undersecretary Epimaco Densing, III, already aired his concern that the policy may be discriminatory and he said the local government units (LGUs) should not be imposing vaccine bubbles until the majority of the population already have access to the vaccines.
Yet for Rama, the policy is not discriminatory at all as unvaccinated individuals are not prohibited from entering establishments, from moving about with respect to health protocols, and from essential businesses or transactions.
They are, however, limited to only outdoor dining and cannot be served yet in non-essential establishments.
For the vice mayor, the policy is fair because it allows businesses to open with additional insurance that there is a lower risk of closure again due to an outbreak or being the cause of another surge as they will only be serving vaccinated individuals.
Furthermore, the city’s vaccination program has been consistent and fast despite the limited vaccine supply delivered to the city.
The city has nearly 300,000 vaccinated individuals for first and second doses, which is still far but getting nearer to the target 700,000 individuals in the city.
“Dili man na gikan nako, gikan man na sa business sector. Ang establishments willing moabli sa ilang mga negosyo, they are encouraging their employees to get vaccinated even at their expense,” said Rama.
Councilor Joel Garganera, the deputy chief implementor of the EOC, said that the policy can only be discriminatory if the vaccination is not accessible.
Considering that the city has nine vaccination sites in the urban areas, and one each for the North and South Districts’ mountain barangays on weekends, the city government has not fallen short in its campaign for vaccination, Garganera stressed.
“Ang ato vaccine is accesible man. Available man na para sa tanan. We in the LGU, we are not only protecting people’s health, but we are also protecting livelihood,” he said.
Both Rama and Garganera welcome the probe of the DILG because they believe this is a chance for them to show how much the business sector appreciates the policy that allows a slight economic relief amid the pandemic. /rcg
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