COVID-19

Iloilo City Mayor Treñas to DOH: Give us more vaccines

Ryan Macasero

BRIEFING. Mayor Jerry Treñas during a live address.

Iloilo City Government

As COVID-19 cases surge, Iloilo City has vaccinated 40,000 of its 478,000 residents since March 5

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas is calling on the national government to allocate more vaccines for Iloilo City as cases surge. 

“You know we have only vaccinated 40,000, that is not even 10% of our population. I have read in one of the newspapers that Quezon City has already vaccinated almost 600,000 (people),” Treñas said during the Laging Handa briefing on Monday, June 21. 

The Western Visayas city has a population of about 478,000 and its first vaccines arrived on March 5.

The national government is currently allocating 55% of the vaccine supply to “NCR Plus 8” cities, and 45% for the rest of the regions. Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, Laguna, Pampanga, Batangas, Metro Cebu, and Metro Davao constitute “NCR Plus 8.”

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According to the latest reports from OCTA Research, Iloilo City has the third highest reported daily cases in the country, reporting in the triple digits since June 11. It was under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from June 1 to June 15. 

Hospitals in the city have also reported 90 to 100% occupancy of its COVID-19 beds.

Treñas said OPAPP Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., who is currently the vaccine czar, promised the city 20,000 Sinovac vaccines.

“We hope that they will be coming soon because I just finished meeting the hospitals. The hospitals will help us vaccinate other constituents so that we can vaccinate more people every day,”  Treñas said. 

A group of doctors from the Iloilo Medical Society (IMS) also pleaded with President Rodrigo Duterte to allot more medicines, vaccines, personnel, and equipment for Iloilo.

“COVID-19 virus continues to spread havoc on our country and the city and (the) province of Iloilo is not spared,” IMS said in its statement. “In fact, recently, we have been hit hard with an increase not only in terms of number of cases but in terms of morbidity and mortality as well,” they added. 

“It is very difficult to battle COVID-19 infections once it is already there. As true with other diseases, prevention is still the best option to win this battle,” the group wrote.

Treñas said during the Laging Handa briefing that he would also request Health Secretary Francisco Duque III to send more health personnel to Iloilo to help tame its surge. 

“I know the hospitals asked for 125 nurses. They (the Department of Health or DOH) gave 60 nurses,” the mayor said. “So I will be writing to Secretary Duque if he can grant Iloilo’s request.”

According to the DOH Western Visayas, as of Monday, June 21, Iloilo City has a total of 2,429 active cases out of a total 10,107 COVID-19 cases, with 7,422 recoveries and 253 deaths. – Maby Dequinto/Rappler.com

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Ryan Macasero

Ryan covers Cebu and the Visayas for Rappler. He covers all news in the region, but is particularly interested in people stories, development issues and local policy making.