Sat. Jan 29th, 2022

Local government units (LGUs) have the authority to impose mandatory inoculation against Covid-19 and eliminate hesitancy and brand preference.

(photo courtesy: http://www.pna.gov.ph)

Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año said local chief executives have autonomous power based on Section 16 of the Local Government Code.

That is, to issue executive orders and ordinances.

“So while we cannot really impose mandatory laws because we don’t have laws, national law, but at least through Section 16 of the Local Government Code, a local chief executive can issue executive order or ordinances that will protect his constituents. That is considered legal unless stopped by the court,” Año told President Rodrigo Duterte during the meeting with the National Task Force Against Covid-19 and medical experts in Malacañang on Monday night.

Año cited League of Municipalities of the Philippines president and Narvacan, Ilocos Sur Mayor Luis “Chavit’’ Singson, who said his unvaccinated constituents are restricted from traveling to other towns.

“We already have LGUs that are announcing, declaring mandatory, and actually, we are encouraging them,” he said.

He then exhorted the public to get their Covid-19 jabs while the vaccines are free “and they can go to any vaccination site and that is for their own good’’.

“Covid chooses no one, rich or poor. Critical or severe treatment will cost you about P2 million,” Año stressed in Filipino.

“Let them feel the pressure, the hardship, the difficulty, and then they will be willing to be vaccinated. Many of the hesitancy are actually based on fake news and reading materials that are not true,” he added.

He made it clear though that members of the indigenous communities and indigents can rely on the government to shoulder their medical or burial expenses.

In a separate interview, DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya noted that several LGUs have come up with local ordinances that would restrict the movement of their unvaccinated constituents.

He also suggested that the unvaccinated may still be allowed normal movement provided they present a negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction test result.

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