Manila Mayor Isko Moreno decided to postpone his scheduled oathtaking as a member of the Aksyon Demokratiko party because of “chaos” ensuing in Metro Manila vaccine centers, a senior member of his staff told Rappler on Thursday, August 5.
“Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso decided to put off the Aksyon oath-taking which was scheduled this afternoon,” said Moreno’s chief of staff Cesar Chavez.
“The chaos in some NCR (National Capital Region) vaccine centers, especially in Manila this morning, requires utmost collective attention,” he added.
Moreno was supposed to take his oath before Aksyon National Executive Board Member Robbie Pierre “Bobbit” Roco at 5 pm at the Rizal Park Hotel in Manila.
But earlier on Thursday, an unexpected number of people swarmed Manila vaccination centers, according to Manila city government personnel.
The vaccinee turnout early Thursday in Manila was estimated by police to be as high as 22,000. City Hall said this is a massive jump from the usual daily numbers of 1,000 to 2,000 people per vaccination site.
Manila Public Information Officer Julius Leonen said many of those who fell in line came from nearby provinces like Cavite, Bulacan, and Rizal. National testing czar Vince Dizon echoed this observation in a Malacañang briefing on Thursday.
“They came in many groups, they came in many vans,” Leonen quoted the Manila Police District as saying.
Leonen said false information that people won’t be allowed to leave their homes if they are unvaccinated drove the huge turnout of people.
“Napag-alaman ng mga imbestigador na dumagsa ang mga tao dahil natatakot sila sa kumalat na balita na hindi sila papayagan lumabas ng kanilang tirahan kung hindi sila bakunado. Huhuliin daw po sila,” said Leonen.
(The investigators found out that people swarmed people they are scared about news that they won’t be allowed to go out of their homes if they are not yet vaccinated. They fear getting arrested.)
“We are already looking into this and part of it is to trace the identity of the source of disinformation on vaccination being circulated on social media and text messages,” said Philippine National Police Chief Police General Guillermo Eleazar.
Aksyon secretary-general Ernest Ramel said the party agreed with Moreno about postponing his oathtaking.
They attributed the swarming of people in Manila vaccine sites as proof of Moreno’s pandemic leadership.
“Mayor Isko’s effective and innovative implementation of the City’s vaccination program has driven thousands of people, both Manileños and non-Manileños, to flock to the City’s vaccination centers,” the party said in a statement.
“These issues have not weakened the resolve of either Mayor Isko Moreno or Aksyon Demokratiko to push through with the oathtaking, albeit at a later date,” it added.
Thursday is the day before the start of the two-week enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila.
According to Chavez, Moreno and Aksyon have not yet finalized a new date for his oathtaking. – Rappler.com