Judiciary workers move up jab list


The National Task Force Against COVID-19 has approved the Supreme Court’s request for the inclusion of the judiciary employees in the so-called “priority population group A4”, which includes frontline personnel in essential sectors under the government’s COVID-19 vaccination priority list.

In a letter to her co-workers in the Judiciary, Senior Associate Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe on Monday said that a portion of the vaccine doses that will arrive in the country this month will go to the judiciary.

In other developments:

• Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymond Villafuerte on Monday called on the government to complement its stricter mobility restrictions with an aggressive “T3”—test, trace, and treat—drive as a more decisive strategy to contain the latest surge in coronavirus infections.

• Tracing czar and Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong, who is COVID-19 positive, decided to go home and care for himself “because the hospitals are full. It’s a waste since the room I would use could be given to severe cases instead.”

• The Department of Health and the Department of Information and Technology have resolved the system issue with the COVIDKaya system that resulted in the 15,310 new COVID-19 cases reported on April 2.

•  Muntinlupa Rep. Ruffy Biazon on Monday cautioned the public against purchasing medicines supposedly as alternative cure for the coronavirus disease.

“Indeed, through its adjudicatory functions, the judiciary is an essential institution in the justice sector that works hand in hand with the executive branch of government to effectively perform its task of maintaining peace and order and safeguarding public welfare in accordance with the rule of law,” Bernabe told the more than 29,000 employees of the judiciary.

“Truly, during this unsettling pandemic, upholding the rule of law assumes greater significance. Thus, access to judicial relief should be constant,” she said.

Bernabe said the judiciary’s request also cited the continuing operations of the courts despite the existence of community quarantines.

“The letter-request expresses that the judiciary’s continuing in-court operations despite the existence of community quarantines run the risk of exposing its employees/personnel to COVID-19 infections, who in turn, regularly interact with other stakeholders that already fall in the priority groups of the Philippine National Deployment and Vaccination Plan for COVID-19 Vaccines,” the Senior Associate Justice stressed.

The Supreme Court has earmarked P19 million for the purchase of vaccines for the judiciary, which is made up of over 30,000 justices, judges, officials, and employees.

“With the NTF’s favorable action on our request, the details of implementation shall be immediately worked out in order to swiftlyroll out the inoculation program soonest,” Bernabe said.

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