BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson assured local government units, especially lower class municipalities, yesterday on the availment of Covid-19 vaccines, stressing that the three million doses he asked from the national government is enough to cover “everybody”, except those in the age gap between zero to 18.
“Our municipalities should not worry. They should not even think of buying. Let the national government take care of them,” Lacson said in reply to apprehensions of some municipalities that they cannot afford to buy Covid-19 vaccines.
The three million doses being asked by Lacson cover 1.5 million Negrenses, except those 18 below, who comprise 70 percent of the Negros Occidental population.
In a series of meetings between the League of the Provinces of the Philippines and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez, Lacson said that it was reiterated to LPP members that it is the obligation of the national government to vaccinate every Filipino, which according to Galvez, is what the President wants.
Instead of buying vaccines, Lacson said he is enjoining LGUs to start encouraging their constituents to register for vaccination, following protocols set by the Department of Health.
At the same time, he also called on local government officials to help them convince the populace that it is safe to be vaccinated and to identify areas where the vaccinations can be done.
Lacson said he is happy to note that the number of Covid-19 cases in Negros Occidental was down to 76, as of Feb. 14.
The municipalities of Salvador Benedicto, Pulupandan, Murcia, La Castellana, Candoni, Cauayan, and Binalbagan, and Himamaylan City have no new active cases. Cases in San Carlos City, that was always on top of the list, went down to 15, the Provincial Incident Management Team said.
But Lacson said the city government of San Carlos is expecting to clear 14 active cases within this week, that will further bring down the cases in the province.
“We hope we can maintain that, but I will not say that we already reached the peak,” he added.
Four adjacent LGUs of Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental have opened their borders to each other, following the reduction in the number of Covid-19 active cases.
Lacson said yesterday that the cities of San Carlos and Kabankalan have opened their borders with Vallehermoso and Mabinay towns of Negros Oriental.
Both Mabinay and Vallehermoso were reported to have zero Covid active cases.
Vallehermoso is the last town of Negros Oriental in the north and shares boundaries with San Carlos City, Negros Occidental, while Mabinay is situated in central Negros, bounded by Kabankalan City in Negros Occidental in the west, and is a shorter route to Bacolod City.
Lacson, however, said that only Mabinay town residents are allowed to enter and stay in Kabankalan City within 24 hours, as ordered by Mayor Pedro Zayco.
“They can’t go beyond Kabankalan City,” he stressed.
He also noted that Mabinay residents are highly dependent on Kabankalan City in dealing with banks and even pharmacies.
On the part of San Carlos, where he used to serve as mayor, Lacson said the LGU had opened its border with Vallehermoso for several months already. “That’s how it is right now,” he added.*