Kadayawan committee wants festival participants to be fully vaxxed; COVID-19 task force says it’s discriminatory 

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 16 July) — Making the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination mandatory for participants of face-to-face activities in the Kadayawan Festival next month is a “form of discrimination” and the Davao City’s COVID-19 Task Force will not support calls to make it a requirement, an official said. 

Dr. Michelle Schlosser, Task Force spokesperson, said in her program “Bida Bakunado” over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) that although the local government of Davao has yet to finalize its decision, the task force maintains its firm stand against mandatory vaccination. 

This after the Kadayawan Executive Committee (Kadayawan Execom) recommended that participants of all face-to-face festival events must be fully vaccinated.

In a press release issued by the City Information Office last July 13, Councilor Al Ryan Alejandre, 2nddistrict councilor and Kadayawan Execom spokesperson, said he suggested requiring festival participants proof of vaccination. 

This is the first time in two years that the local government will allow a face-to-face Kadayawan celebration since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The past two festivals were all done online.

Performers fill the streets of Davao City for the Indak-indak sa Kadayawan, a street dancing competition of the annual Kadayawan Festival, on 17 August 2019. This was the last face-to-face Kadayawan before the COVID-19 pandemic. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO

Schlosser said the local government has yet to release the festival guidelines, which will take into consideration the inputs from the health and tourism sectors.

“This not to pre-empt the protocol but I do believe that the stand of COVID-19 Task Force has not changed. We will not be forcing anyone to have the vaccine. We are only encouraging and educating how beneficial it is,” she said.

She added that the city should not bar people from participating in the events “just because they do not have the vaccine.”

“It’s a form of discrimination. Since time immemorial, we do not enforce such a policy disqualifying anyone from availing of anything here in Davao City just because they are unvaccinated,” she said.

The Teatro Amorseco Dance troupe of Notre Dame Sto.Niño, South Cotabato performs at the Indak-indak sa Kadalanan, a street dancing competition in the annual Kadayawan Festival on 17 August 2019. MindaNews photo by GREGORIO BUENO

Schlosser said the local government is only “encouraging” the people to get vaccinated against the disease to prevent moderate, severe, and critical symptoms of COVID-19.

Based on the data released by the Department of Health as of July 6, Davao City recorded a total of 1,318,850 fully vaccinated residents. The city has a population of 1.78 million according to the May 2020 census of the Philippine Statistics Authority. 

The city reported that as of July 12,  the cumulative total of COVID-19 cases since March 2020 is 72,908, out of which 147 are active cases.  (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)