December 6, 2022

Some local chief executives in the Cordillera whose jurisdiction were listed as critical or high-risk area for Covid-19 were thankful for their inclusion in the priority list.

Kalinga Gov. Ferdinand Tubban, whose province is experiencing a surge in Covid-19 infections recording a total of 335 cases from April 1 to 6, said they are happy for their inclusion in the priority list.

In February, Tubban tested positive for the Covid-19 and was cleared on the same month after undergoing self-quarantine.

Tubban looks forward to receive the vaccine.

Abra Gov. Joy Bernos, who chairs the Regional Development Council and who got infected in March and has already recovered, said: “I am very grateful that the Inter-Agency Task Force realized the danger on us, leading the whole province in the fight against Covid-19. I hope we could fast-track everything in the vaccine rollout so we could give protection for all the Abrenios.”

Sagada, Mountain Province Mayor James Pooten, whose town is also experiencing a surge in Covid-19 cases with 462 new cases recorded from April 1 to 6 said, “LCEs are also always with the front-liners whether at the barangay health centers, triage, checkpoints, hospitals and the like. LCEs are most of the time in the frontlines.”

As per the report of the Municipal Health Office contact tracer, Pooten got infected when he went house-to-house in the barangays to convince people to go for RT-PCR test.

“All of us mayors are happy that we have been included in the A-1.5 list of priority to be vaccinated. It is in the nature of our job to be in direct contact with our people and our front-liners, so we are often exposed and prone to infection,” said Buguias Mayor Ruben Tindaan, who tested positive for Covid-19 on April 5.

“We welcome this especially in light of the recent Covid-19 positive cases involving mayors in our province and neighboring LGUs. Our vaccination would likewise be helpful in generating community awareness and vaccination acceptance,” he added.

Tindaan, however, said he is not qualified to be vaccinated due to the infection.

Advisory 26 of the National Vaccination Operations Center approved by the national IATF for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases on April 5 has identified 57 high-risk and critical provinces, 25 highly urbanized and independent component cities as well as 321 component cities and municipalities all over the country whose mayors and governors can be inoculated, after all the health workers who are on the A-1 priority list have been vaccinated.

The LCEs were categorized as A-1.5 priority or after the health workers and before senior citizens.

In the Cordillera, all chief executives in Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, Mountain Province and Baguio City were included.

Two towns in Kalinga – Tabuk City and Pasil; eight in Mountain Province – Sadanga, Barlig, Bauko, Tadian, Besao, Sabangan, Sagada, and Bontoc; two in Apayao – Flora and Pudtol; five towns in Benguet – Atok, Buguias, Kibungan, Kabayan, and La Trinidad; four in Ifugao – Alfonso Lista, Lamut, Hingyon, and Bangued are also on the list.

The national advisory also said if localities not on the list become high-risk or in critical risk as determined by the Department of Health, the LCE of the locality shall be qualified for inoculation. – PNA