MANILA, Philippines — The national government on Tuesday denied claims that it neglected the Visayas and Mindanao regions in the deployment of COVID-19 vaccine doses.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said there is no truth in the accusations of neglect because the government has been distributing vaccine shots to areas experiencing an uptick in COVID-19 cases.
“Hindi po totoo yan na ginipit natin ang ibang parte ng Pilipinas,” Roque said during a press briefing.
House Deputy Speaker and Cagayan de Oro 2nd District Representative Rufus Rodriguez earlier said the national government is taking its time in distributing the bulk of COVID-19 vaccine doses in Metro Manila despite their repeated request for additional supply.
But Roque said only 38 percent of the vaccine supply was allocated to Metro Manila and nearby areas and that the remaining supply is delivered to the rest of the Philippines “pursuant to equitable distribution as mandated by the President.”
“Hindi po totoo yan… Inuna lang natin yung una na pinakamataas ang numero pero ngayong tumataas po sa iba, nagpapadala rin tayo ng karagdagang bakuna sa mga lugar na yan,” he said.
The Palace official also said that available data shows that compliance with minimum health protocols went down in some areas in Visayas and Mindanao that are currently facing surges in COVID-19 infections.
“Ang pagkalat po ng sakit, hindi po yan dahil sa kawalan ng bakuna. ‘yan po ay dahil bumaba ang compliance with minimum health requirements,” he said.
President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday placed 21 areas under stricter modified enhanced community quarantine from June 16 to 30.
Metro Manila and Bulacan will stay under general community quarantine (GCQ) level with “some restrictions” while the provinces of Laguna, Cavite, and Rizal are under GCQ with “heightened restrictions” until the end of this month.
Other areas under GCQ from June 16 to June 30, 2021 are Baguio City, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Abra, and Benguet in the Cordillera Administrative Region; Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, and Quirino in Region 2; Batangas and Quezon in Region 4-A; Iligan City in Region 10; Davao del Norte in Region 11; General Santos City, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, Cotabato, and South Cotabato in Region 12; and Lanao del Sur and Cotabato City in BARMM.