MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte said he wanted local governments to face sanctions for problems in their COVID-19 vaccinations.
Duterte, in a taped meeting with officials that aired on Wednesday, said he instructed the interior department "to impose the necessary sanction against LGUs and local chief executives who are not performing nor using the doses given to them in the most expeditious manner."
"I will hold each and every LGU accountable for this," he said.
Duterte said the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines was "weak" at the regional and provincial levels.
"Hindi ko malaman kung saan talaga nagkakamali, kung may mali, bakit mahina ang—ang paglabas ng bakuna dito sa national, medyo okay. Ang problema, pagdating doon sa provincial, regional level, dito, doon nagkakaroon ng medyo problema," Duterte said.
(I don't know where it is going wrong, if there is something wrong, why is it weak. The release of vaccines from the national level is a bit okay. The problem is when it comes to the provincial, regional level, that is where there is a bit of problem.)
He ordered the police and military to lend their air assets for the delivery of vaccines to the provinces.
"If we adopt this program, madeliver agad namin... Dapat lang pagdating doon, andoon na iyong mga tao, the human resource side would be ready to do the injections," Duterte said.
(If we adopt this program, we can deliver immediately. When it arrives, the people should be there, the human resource side would be ready to do the injections.)
"Kung sakali mangyari ito (if this happens), I hope that the local governments, the mayors would take time really to attend to this problem of delay," he continued.
Local officials and department heads can face neglect of duty and misconduct charges for vaccine wastage or unjustified failure to ramp up the immunization program, Interior Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said last week.
"Mismo po ang DILG ang magsasampa ng kaso sa kanila at puwede po silang masuspinde o kaya naman matanggal sa serbisyo kung mapapatunayan pong nagkaroon sila ng mga kasong ito," he said in a public briefing.
(The DILG will file cases against them and they can be suspended or removed from service if these cases are proven.)
The Philippines has recorded some 2.7 million overall coronavirus infections and 43,404 deaths. At least 27.4 million of the 109 population have been fully inoculated so far.
Video courtesy of PTV