Escalante mayor ready to face sanctions over COVID-19 vaccination

PHOTO CAPTION: In the photos, Escalante City Mayor Melecio Yap, Jr. gets vaccinated with the Sinovac-vaccine even though he isn’t considered a priority on the DoH list. He admits to no wrongdoing but will accept sanctions if issued against him./iNEWS (Photos: City Government of Escalante)

BACOLOD CITY–Escalante City Mayor Melecio Yap, Jr. is ready to face sanctions should the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) penalize him for getting vaccinated against COVID-19 earlier than the priority list of the Department of Health recommended.

Last week, Yap led city and hospital officials of Escalante City in a ceremonial vaccination using the China-made Sinovac vaccine at the city-operated Vicente Gustilo District Hospital.

Yap became the first mayor in Negros Occidental to be inoculated with a COVID-19 vaccine.

“(But) I have not received any show-cause order from the DILG, yet,” he said.

According to Yap, while there were 150 doses allocated for the hospital, only 47 medical frontliners were willing to be vaccinated at that time.

He said the “call of duty” made him step up and set himself as an example to encourage his constituents to get vaccinated.

“They were hesitant; maybe because it was Sinovac. So we decided to classify all city employees under ‘quick response’ so that the hospital personnel will follow their example,” the mayor explained, adding, “Since the vaccines had to be used up within a certain time frame, I decided to get inoculated that day.”

Yap said he even dared Hospital Administrator and head of the city IATF Dr. Vermont Uvahev to follow his lead.

He said he has not felt any side effects or gotten any adverse reactions to the vaccine and is willing to take the second dose if allowed. Otherwise, he claimed, he will wait a year to completely rid his body of the first dose of Sinovac before getting vaccinated with another brand.

The mayor admitted to being surprised to learn of the show cause order against Tacloban mayor Alfred Romualdez on Tuesday as he thought that Local Chief Executives were tagged as priorities for vaccination.

“I took the risk on the vaccine even when I wouldn’t have chosen Sinovac if it were all up to me. But…no problem; I am willing to take the penalties for my actions even as I believe I did not commit a mistake,” Yap said.

Local government Undersecretary Epimaco Densing on Wednesday announced that Mayor Alfred Romualdez of Tacloban City, Leyte; Mayor Dibu Tuan of T’boli, South Cotabato; Mayor Sulpicio Villalobos of Sto. Niño, South Cotabato; Mayor Noel Rosal of Legazpi City, Albay; and Mayor Abraham Ibba of Bataraza, Palawan were issued show-cause orders for “jumping ahead of the queue in getting their COVID-19 shots.”

Romualdez was injected with the CoronaVac vaccine while there is no information as to what brand the other four mayors had received. (Eugene Y. Adiong/iNEWS-Bacolod/Negros Bureau)

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