Leonardia calls on gov’t anew to prioritize local chief execs

Bacolod City—Following the recent increase of COVID-positive cases among city mayors in the country, LCP President and Bacolod City Mayor Bing Leonardia has once again issued another appeal, this time to President Rodrigo Duterte,to include local chief executives (LCEs) in the top vaccine priority group.

In a letter addressed to the President, Leonardia appealed for the “reclassification and inclusion of LCEs as frontline workers”  in the Category A1 of the IATF-EID’s priority list.

“In the vaccination roll-out, city mayors visit the site physically, report to the city hall regularly, and are front and center in this fight against the pandemic,” Leonardia said.

The mayor added: “It might not be a health facility, but city halls are where decisions are made and instructions are cascaded down to the communities. Imagine if we continue to lockdown city halls and conduct massive contract tracing efforts every time a city mayor is diagnosed as COVID-19 positive.”

To date, eight city mayors have already contracted COVID-19 since the outbreak last year. These mayors include: Pasay City Mayor Emy Calixto-Rubiano; San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora; Victorias City Mayor Frederick Palanca; Talisay City Mayor Gerald Gullas; Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte; Mabalacat City Mayor Cris Garbo; Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard Chan; and Marawi City Mayor MajulGandamra.

Belmonte, Garbo, and Gandamra tested positive for the virus just recently and have since undergone the required quarantine procedure.

“Despite their best efforts in observing the minimum health standards, [these] city mayors still contracted the virus. Local chief executives are at great risk of exposure due to the magnitude of their work and thus need to be protected through vaccination immediately. It might also be prudent to inoculate the city mayors now than later to minimize the virus’ spread,” Leonardia said.

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