Iligan City

Mayor makes proof of booster shots a requirement in Iligan

Merlyn Manos
Mayor makes proof of booster shots a requirement in Iligan

Iligan City Mayor Frederick Siao

Iligan City Information Office

The Iligan City government announces the rule four days after the citywide celebration of the feast of Michael the Archangel, the patron saint of the predominantly Catholic city

ILIGAN, Philippines – City hall started implementing this week an order that made COVID-19 vaccine booster shots a requirement for workers and people entering establishments and participating in big gatherings.

Iligan Mayor Frederick Siao’s Executive Order 37-2022 was signed on September 23, but city hall announced it on Monday, October 3, four days after the citywide celebration of the feast of Michael the Archangel, the patron saint of the predominantly Catholic city.

Part of Siao’s order read, “All establishments of Iligan City and employees found therein shall be fully vaccinated with booster dose from COVID-19 vaccine.”

Siao said all establishments are allowed to operate, and activities that attract crowds are allowed to be undertaken in the city provided that people present proof that they have received booster shots.

“The highest attainable standard of health is not just a fundamental right but a personal duty,” Siao said.

Officials said the order came even as the city government stepped up the campaign to get more of its residents to seek booster shots in line with the Department of Health’s “Bida Solusyon” campaign.

The executive order also put to task Iligan’s barangay chairpersons to mobilize and “generate demand for vaccination in their respective territorial jurisdiction.”

The Iligan City Health Office, Siao said, would bring the COVID-19 immunization program to people’s doorsteps as part of a citywide vaccination campaign.

Siao said establishments that want their workers to get jabs can make arrangements with the local health office.

Local officials said those who fail to comply with city hall’s policy are required to undergo reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests and show proof that they are not COVID-19-infected every 15 days.

Indoors, people are required to observe the minimum health standards set by the DOH.

Siao’s executive order was criticized by those who saw it as a mandatory no-booster-shot-no entry rule.

There were others though who welcomed the mayor’s move.

“Biased kaayo ko kay pro-vaccination gyud ko. Kung pwede lang every 4 months magpa booster buhaton ko na gyud (I’m biased because I am pro-vaccination. If only I can get boosted every four months, I’d get jabbed),” Iligan Councilor Rosevi Belmonte told Rappler.

Siao’s order came despite the relatively low number of COVID-19 infections recorded in Iligan despite the size of its fiesta event crowds in late September.

Its street parade alone two days before the city fiesta drew a crowd estimated to reach 25,000 people.

City hall logged no new COVID-19 infection and only four active cases on Monday afternoon, the first working day of the week after the Iligan fiesta.

Iligan is the first to document a COVID-19 hospital admission in Mindanao in 2020, and it has so far recorded 6,572 COVID-19 cases and 508 deaths since then.

But just like many other cities in the country which registered relatively high COVID-19 vaccination rates, Iligan’s campaign to give residents booster shots remained low. 

The city government has so far boosted only 30% of its target population, said Dr. Glen Manarpaac, Iligan City health officer.

In July, the CHO said it aimed at giving 100,000 Iliganons booster shots during the first 100 days of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s administration. – Rappler.com

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