2 South Cotabato mayors ordered to explain for getting ahead of COVID-19 queue

South Cotabato. Map courtesy of Google

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews / 24 March) – Two of the five mayors in the country that were issued show cause orders for getting injected with coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines ahead of the priority list are from South Cotabato.

They are Dibu Tuan of T’boli town and Sulpicio Villalobos of Sto. Nino municipality.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) issued the show cause orders, which were made public Wednesday by DILG Undersecretary Epimaco Densing.

Also included in the show cause orders were mayors Alfred Romualdez of Tacloban City, Leyte (vaccinated March 22), Noel Rosal of Legazpi City, Albay (vaccinated March 16) and Abraham Ibba of Bataraza, Palawan (vaccinated March 22).

Tuan and Villalobos could not be reached for comments following the DILG’s release of the show cause orders.

But both of them earlier admitted having been vaccinated with AztraZeneca.

They were vaccinated at their respective localities on March 19.

At the time, Villalobos told the local media that the local health officer advised him to get the COVID-19 vaccine due to his exposure to COVID-19 isolation units in his town.

Villalobos said he also decided to get vaccinated to encourage his constituents to get inoculated by the vaccines procured by the government.

Besides him, Villalobos revealed that the president of the town’s Association of Barangay Councils was also allegedly inoculated with the COVID-19 vaccine.

Villalobos was installed as mayor in July 2020 after the mayor, Pablo Matinong, Jr., was shot dead by motorcycle-riding assailants.

For his part, Tuan also earlier admitted that he got injected with COVID-19, and was even photographed holding an enlarged printed injection with the words “I got vaccinated.”

He posed in front of a large tarpaulin bearing the slogan “Resbakuna, Kasangga ng Bida.”

At the time, Tuan said he decided to get the COVID-19 injection to encourage his constituents to follow suit and that there is nothing to be afraid of in the COVID-19 vaccines that were made available in the country.

Currently, the inoculation is still ongoing for medical frontliners across the country.

Mayors, governors, and village chiefs were recently moved up in the COVID-19 vaccine priority list, but they can only be inoculated after health workers, senior citizens and persons with comorbidities, CNN Philippines reported. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)