MANILA - Governors, mayors and village chiefs are now fourth in line to get the COVID-19 vaccine, the Department of the Interior and Local Government said Friday, after they have been moved up in the country's vaccination priority list.
"That's why they don't need to jump the gun because they've been upgraded," Interior Undersecretary Epimaco Densing told ANC.
Over 1,700 governors and mayors and more than 42,000 village chiefs were reclassified last week into the A4 category as frontline essential workers, he said.
A4 refers to frontline personnel in essential sectors including uniformed personnel and those in working sectors identified by the Inter-Agency Task Force as essential during enhanced community quarantine.
Local officials were previously classified in the B3 category or other essential workers, which means they were supposed to be in eight place in the priority list.
"We found it justified that they're really frontliners. I mean they go out every day, look at their patients, at their constituency and they're really exposed on a daily basis. So, they're like essential workers," Densing said.
This came after the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines and League of Cities of the Philippines requested to DILG to be upgraded in the list of priority groups for COVID-19 inoculation.
"In fact, they wanted every elected official. But I told them the vice mayors, councilors, board members, including the kagawads, may not fall into A4 category because their main function is legislative in nature. They are not required to go out and do frontline work unless they volunteer," Densing said.
Due to shortage of vaccine supply, the government has prioritized health-care workers in the vaccination. They are followed by older people, persons with comorbidities, frontline essential workers and indigent population.
In the B category, teachers and social workers will receive first the COVID-19 jabs. Trailing are other government workers, other essential workers, socio-demographic groups at significantly higher risk of infection, overseas Filipino workers and other remaining workforce.
The last to get the anti-coronavirus shots is the rest of the population.
The DILG has issued show cause orders against several mayors for jumping the queue to get vaccinated against the disease