TRENTO, Agusan del Sur (MindaNews / 26 May) – Local officials here are enforcing stringent measures to residents who are not yet fully vaccinated in an effort to achieve the 80 percent threshold herd population immunity against COVID-19.
Mayor William Calvez has issued Executive Order No. 008 Series of 2022 dubbed “No Vaccine, No Benefits” to unvaccinated residents of this town, which consequently barred them from transacting business at the municipal hall.
At the same time, the Sangguniang Bayan also passed Municipal Ordinance No. 0157 Series of 2022, regulating the mobility of unvaccinated persons in their town.
Allen Joe Lumanta, municipal information officer, said the mayor’s directive would deprive indigent unvaccinated residents benefits from financial, medical and burial assistance from the municipal hall unless they would signify their willingness to get vaccinated.
The unvaccinated are also deprived of support from the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Displaced Workers or TUPAD program of the Department of Labor and Employment, a community-based package of assistance that provides emergency employment for displaced, underemployed and seasonal workers, for a minimum period of 10 days but not to exceed a maximum of 30 days.
Calvez said that while his town has passed the 72 percent threshold to residents who were jabbed with anti-COVID-19 vaccines, there is a need to achieve an 80 percent total vaccination goal to be downgraded to Alert Level 1 status by the provincial Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
“I would really like to have our local economy return to normal but we could never be lowered down to Alert Level 1 if we cannot achieve the 80 percent herd immunity population,” Calvez said in a local media interview.
The 80 percent full vaccination target of the province was agreed upon by the Provincial Health Office and the Rural Health Units (RHU) in the municipalities to ensure they can achieve the Alert Level 1 downgrade status.
The ordinance by the town council is even more stringent, as it would regulate the movement of unvaccinated workers in both private and public offices and commercial establishments unless they can submit a negative Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction result every two weeks, at their own expense
Lumanta said Calvez’s order would not allow unvaccinated persons to join public events unless they agree to be vaccinated by a team of RHU set up near the venue.
He, however, assured that these strict policies will be lifted once the town’s population reaches the 80 percent fully-vaccinated goal. (Chris V. Panganiban / MindaNews)