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In one of its stricter measures to prevent the spread of the more virulent COVID-19 Delta variant, Lapu-Lapu City said only vaccinated persons will be allowed inside public and private markets in their area starting August 25.
Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan signed Executive Order No. 2021-040 on Monday, July 26, which imposed stricter movement restrictions in Lapu-Lapu City.
Among these rules was allowing only vaccinated persons “to enter public and private markets including department stores, supermarkets, and convenience stores,” Section 4 of the EO required “presentation of their vaccination cards.”
After a copy of the EO was posted on Facebook, netizens raised their concern on the “no-vaccine, no-entry” policy in the city’s markets. In the comments section they questioned the accessibility of vaccines to residents in the city.
“Section 4 is unreasonable. Are the vaccines available all the time? Mura man ug dili makatawhanon (This seems inhumane),” one user wrote.
Netizens also said the policy seemed to make COVID-19 vaccinations in the city mandatory, instead of a choice.
“Much better if ibalik nalang ang quarantine pass mayor kesa sa pinugsanay nga vaccination because as what DOH said, dili man unta dapat imandatory ang vaccination. This is a democratic country, asa na lang i-put among human rights ani mayor,” another user wrote.
(It would be much better if we went back to using quarantine passes instead of this. Because as what DOH said, vaccination is not mandatory. This is a democratic country, how will you reconcile this with our human rights, mayor?)
Markets are considered essential establishments that should be accessible to residents even under the country’s strictest quarantine status.
The Department of Health (DOH) vaccine fact page said vaccination was not mandatory and remained a personal choice. Because vaccines gave the highest form of protection against COVID-19, the government encouraged the public to get inoculated.
Responding to the comments online, Chan said Tuesday, July 27, that the implementation date was made later so residents would have a chance of getting inoculated before the policy becomes effective.
He added that he would reconsider the controversial section.
“Tagae usa ko sa higayon nga tan-awon ang duha ka mga datos kon numero: una, ang atong mga kaso sa COVID matag adlaw; ikaduha, ang numero sa nagpabakuna matag adlaw,“ he wrote in his post.
(Give me the chance to weigh the following data or numbers: first, the cases of COVID per day; second, the number of people vaccinated per day.)
Chan said he instructed the vaccination team to hasten the vaccine rollout in Lapu-Lapu. Walk-ins were also allowed in the city’s vaccination centers for senior citizens and persons with co-morbidities.
In a message to Rappler, Chan clarified that residents who have received only their first dose of the vaccine will also be allowed in the markets.
As of July 26, the DOH Central Visayas has recorded 74 new cases in Lapu-Lapu City. There are 972 active cases in the city, or people currently sick with COVID-19. In total, Lapu-Lapu has seen 8,114 cases of COVID-19, 6,961 recoveries, and 181 deaths. – Rappler.com