LOCAL CHIEF executives (LCEs) have now been reclassified as “essential workers” by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) and will be included among the priority groups to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
This was revealed by Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary Epimaco Densing to Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia following the mayor’s appeal to prioritize heads of local governments in the country’s national vaccine program.
“We salute Undersecretary Densing for the very quick response because it was only last Saturday, March 13, during his visit to Bacolod, when I, as the National President of the League of Cities of the Philippines, appealed for him to elevate this matter to the IATF,” said Leonardia.
According to Leonardia, LCEs are frontliners, too, in the fight against the ongoing pandemic.
Accordingly, 1,634 provincial governors, city and municipal mayors, and 42,046 barangay captains around the country will be reclassified as Category A4 or “frontline personnel” in essential sectors including uniformed personnel and those in working sectors identified by the IATF as essential during ECQ of the Interim National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (iNITAG).
Based on the IATF-EID guidelines, frontline workers in health facilities in both national and local, and private and public facilities are included in priority group “A1” along with health professionals and non-professional like the barangay health workers, students, janitors, and nursing aides.
Meanwhile, Senior citizens aged 60 and up are listed under Priority Group “A2”, while persons with comorbidities not included in the preceding categories are under Priority Group “A3”, and the indigent not included in the preceding categories are among the other priority recipients of vaccines under Priority Group “A5”. “The risks of exposure that we encounter on a day-to-day basis as we continue to serve our constituents is also very high. This development will surely inspire and encourage our local government leaders to even work harder and more effectively in the implementation of our COVID programs, especially now that we are accelerating our efforts to vaccinate as many of our people, given the surge in cases in many areas in the country in recent weeks,” Leonardia said on Thursday, March 18, 2021. By Gwen Maurillo