Chavit: Consider mayors as frontliners

>> Tuesday, April 6, 2021

The Roving Inspector
Mar Supnad  

NARVACAN, Ilcos Sur -- Whenever there are kinks in the locality, people tend to go to the mayor. Whenever local folks need help, the first thing that comes to their mind is to go to the mayor.
    Whenever streets go dark because lamp posts are busted or roads getting bumpy, residents ask for the mayor to do the job.
    Whenever they go short of their needs in view of the pandemic, they call on the mayor.
    Same thing applies in dealing with a one-year old national health emergency. As it is, it is always the mayor that that people talk to under these most trying times and as such makes them vulnerable to the highly-contagious virus from Wuhan, China.
    Yes, they have always been at the front line – pandemic or no pandemic, and as such are deserving of respect and support. Condemning them is unacceptable.
    This is exactly what the League of Municipalities headed by its National President Luis “Chavit” Singson, stand for amid relentless issuance of nasty remarks against the five local executives who had earlier availed of the Covid-19 vaccines deployed in their localities.
    I have every reason to believe Singson, who said that since the mayors also serve as fathers and mothers in their localities looking after the welfare of their constituents they also need protections of themselves from the dreaded virus.
    And as such, it is imperative for them to boost the confidence of their constituents by taking the first jabs – just like what the Indonesian president did and for which they have a remarkable compliance on their national vaccine rollout.
    Singson, himself a mayor of Narvacan, Ilocos Sur, finds no need for media hype on the supposed investigation by the Department of Interior and Local Government of the local chief executives under attack.
    Consider this — President Duterte himself stated that these mayors cannot be blamed for availing ahead of the vaccination to allay fears of their reluctant constituents even as surveys and reports show reluctance of Filipinos on being vaccinated.
    To surmise, there is no need for the national government agencies to condemn the mayors.
    In fact, these mayors are doing the national government a favor.
    They’re actually helping the national government convince the public to be vaccinated because it is “safe.”
    Imagine the mayors putting their lives on the brink of make or break, something that Health Secretary Francisco Duque didn’t dare do.
    Not even the President’s spokesperson Harry Roque who defied President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to get him a jab on day one of the vaccine rollout.
    The survey, which was conducted from Feb. 22 to 3 March, showed 61 percent or six out of 10 Filipinos do not want to be vaccinated against Covid-19 if the shots were available, while 16 percent said they will.
    Citing surveys, Singson said several Filipinos are afraid of the vaccine following reports of casualties abroad and its side effects.
    “While several Filipinos doubt the efficacy of vaccines, mayors cannot be blamed for taking the lead to prove that vaccines are safe under their jurisdiction. Seeing the mayors themselves getting vaccinated would lessen the fear of their constituents,” Mayor Singson said.
    I could even recall Mayor Singson saying — “As Chief Executives, it is our duty to oversee our people’s general welfare, be at the forefront during disasters or calamities, and safeguard them. We meet a lot of individuals, visit Barangays, consult various sectors, implement programs, and enforce the law. In all aspects, mayors are frontliners. With such enormous responsibility, we must first and foremost ensure that we are strong and healthy thus we can protect our people and fight for them.”
    Among the mayors who had themselves vaccinated include Alfred Romualdez of Tacloban, Leyte; Dibu Tuan of T’boli, South Cotabato; Sulpicio Villalobos of Sto Niño, South Cotabato; Noel Rosal of Legazpi, Albay; and Abraham Ibba of Bataraza, Palawan. Aside from them, the DILG hinted on eight more whose names would be announced publicly – and for what, another public persecution?
    The DILG should first see to it that their backyard is clean because the last time I checked, I was told that a DILG Undersecretary also had himself vaccinated along with the healthcare workers.


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