Sen. Gatchalian, VP hopeful, visits vax hub in Davao with Mayor Sara

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 17 September) – Mayor Sara Duterte visited “Bakuna By the Sea” at Waterfront Insular Hotel Davao on Friday with Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, who earlier expressed interest to be her running mate if she decides to run for president in the 2022 elections, to oversee the vaccination rollout for essential workers in the city.

This came a day after Liloan (Cebu) Mayor Christina Garcia Frasco, Sara’s spokesperson, issued a statement confirming the president’s daughter decision to run for reelection next year with incumbent Vice Mayor Sebastian Duterte, instead of gunning for the presidency.

In a press release published on his website, Gatchalian said that over 25,000 workers are expected to be vaccinated during phase 2 of “Bakuna By Sea,” a “joint undertaking” between the local government and the family-owned hotel.

He said the hotel, considered one of the biggest vaccination hubs in Davao, has inoculated around 14,000 individuals in the tourism sector, including those in the allied services, during the first phase as of August since it opened on June 30.

He said phase 2 of the vaccination rollout at the hotel is being pursued following a “high turnout” of individuals who wanted to get vaccinated “to further expedite the government’s vaccination program in preparation for the gradual resumption of economic activities in Davao once the number of COVID-19 cases starts to slow down.”

“If we want to go back to business and have at least a semblance of normalcy in our daily lives, we need to vaccinate the people. If we want to achieve the population protection target by the end of the year, we need to do our share to help the government hasten the process. Bayanihan is the key. We cannot just sit idly and watch the cases increase day after day,” Gatchalian said in the release.

In a statement on Sept. 2, Sara named Gatchalian and Senator Christopher “Bong” Go as the politicians who personally expressed their intentions to be her running mate while the proposal of a possible tandem with former Defense secretary Gilbert Teodoro Jr. was made known through common friends.

She also belied the claims of her father, President Rodrigo R. Duterte, that Senator Imee Marcos met with her in this city last May 29 to discuss a possible tandem for next year’s elections.

On September 9, Sara said she will no longer run for any national position in next year’s elections as her father has already declared to join the race as Go’s running mate under the Partido Demoktratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) faction led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi.

She said the president’s decision to run for vice president did not affect her plans as they previously agreed that only one of them will run for a national position in 2022.

The PDP-Laban Cusi faction on Sept. 8 formally endorsed Go as its presidential candidate in tandem with President Duterte. This despite the refusal of Go last August 30 to accept the nomination.

Go said he would rather devote his time and attention “in helping the government and our people overcome this pandemic as soon as possible.”

But the mayor revealed that from her last conversation with her father, “plan A” would be to push for the tandem of Go and President Duterte next year and “plan B” would be for Go to run as vice president of Sara. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)