Health cmte tackles DILG advisory on COVID-19 vaccine requirement

THE City Council committee on health chaired by Councilor Maria Lourdes S. Gaane during its recent meeting discussed the memorandum issued by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) encouraging local government units to pass an

ordinance imposing measures to make COVID-19 vaccines a pre-requisite for the availment of certain government services.

City DILG Director Jane Docallos said the DILG recognizes the right of individuals over their bodies and their freedom of choice. However, she said the right of the general public should also be considered, citing that Cagayan de Oro is a highly populated city.

“We really respect the right of individual but we cannot also set aside the right of the general public. The WHO emphasized that vaccination is one of the strategies that we can address this problem,” she stressed.

A representative of the City Legal Office said it does not see any reason not to comply with the advisory. The office is inclined to exert any necessary measures to improve the city’s COVID-19 response, he cited.

Dr. Rachel Dilla of the City Health Office likewise supported the advisory of the DILG, stressing that the vaccine is the best prevention against the disease. “Although naay cases nga dili nato matagaan og vaccine. But we encourage nga tanan gyud unta magpa-vaccine,” she stressed.

For her part, Atty. Jeanne Abrina of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said mandatory vaccination can be allowed as long as human rights are protected and certain conditions are considered, and only as the last resort against the pandemic.

On the other hand, Msgr. Manuel Monsanto of Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro stressed that the church’s stand corresponds with Pope Francis’ suggestion that getting vaccinated is a moral obligation. He said the church is encouraging the public to get vaccinated. However, he said the right of everyone should also be respected. He expressed hopes that there will no legislation that will disallow non-vaccinated people to attend mass.

MOVEMENT RESTRICTIONS

In line with the stay-at-home policy relative to the pronouncement of President Rodrigo Duterte, Director Docallos said the DILG is looking into restraining the movement of unvaccinated individuals.

“If not into requiring vaccination, the LGUs are enjoined to come up with the ordinance restraining the movement of its constituents,” Docallos said.

She added that a DILG memorandum requires barangays to make an inventory of unvaccinated residents. The intention is for LGUs to restrain their movement to protect others, she said.

As this developed, the committee adopted a resolution requesting the Office of the City Mayor Oscar Moreno to certify the necessity of the said DILG memorandum.