LETTER TO PRESIDENT RODRIGO DUTERTE

Dear Mr. President:

I hope that this letter finds you well amid this pandemic which we all hope under God’s grace and under your able leadership, would end soon.

Mr. President, I am writing this letter not only as an advocate of good governance and anti-corruption, but also as a concerned citizen whose relatives are living in the Municipality of Tayug, Pangasinan. Although I am now living in a town next to this municipality, I was born in Tayug and, together with the people here now, is so disgusted by the way the local chief executive harasses the officials of our district hospital here, which has been inoculating the citizens against COVID-19.

I am writing you this incident, which to my apprehension borders on violations of R.A. 115251 (COVID-19 Vaccination Program) and R.A. 6713 (Code of Conduct of Public Officials and Employees) by Mayor Carlos Trece R. Mapili of the Municipality of Tayug.

If I may substantiate, on March 25, 2020, you signed into law the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act (RA 11469) granting you special powers to address the Covid-19 outbreak in the country. And on February 26, 2021, you approved R.A. 115251, a law establishing the COVID-19 Vaccination Program expediting the vaccine procurement and administration process thereof, which is a measure or authority of your office to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in the country which you yourself certified as urgent.

Mr. President, in this time of COVID-19, when just about everyone with a functioning brain would want to get vaccinated the soonest time possible with whatever jab is available at the moment just so they can at least fight off the virus when they get infected, it pisses me no end when this town’s mayor would do the exact opposite–and entirely against your will to vaccinate the majority of our population–by preventing his constituents from getting their hands on the much-needed vaccines just because his ego was apparently hurt for whatever reason.

On August 2, 2021, Mayor Mapili has ordered the Eastern Pangasinan District Hospital (EPDH) to stop its vaccination rollout benefitting his own constituents primarily because, according to him, “basic courtesy dictates that you should have at least coordinated the same with my office or the Municipal Health Office (MHO)-Rural Health Unit (RHU) of the municipality.”

In a separate letter sent on August 4, 2021, Mayor Mapili even threatened to sue the hospital officials for defying his order to stop the vaccination roll-out underscoring, “I will not hesitate to file administrative charges against you and (to) all concerned should you fail to heed this demand.”

Mr. President, it has to be stressed that EPDH, although situated in the town of Tayug, is run by the provincial government of Pangasinan and is included in the list of accredited COVID-19 Bakuna Centers of the Department of Health (DOH) and by the COVID-19 Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID).

In its response to Mayor Mapili, EPDH stressed that the hospital, as a District Vaccination Operations Center, is a registered COVID-19 Bakuna Center with CBCR ID number 00496 and was granted the authority to conduct mass vaccination within its territorial jurisdiction as an ILHZ catering to eight municipalities in Eastern Pangasinan.

“It is worth emphasizing that EPDH is an ideal health facility for vaccination as we have the capacity to respond to Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFI), especially serious ones,” it also noted while emphasizing that coordination was made regarding the matter.

Clearly, this act of Mayor Mapili is liable for gross ignorance of the law as well as violation of the Code of Conduct of Public Officials and Employees (R.A.6713) for not upholding public interest in the time of the pandemic.

Sadly, Mr. President, while we are impressed with your quick but well-thought-out response to the crisis, there are those, like Mayor Mapili, who have treated this unfortunate period in the nation’s life as just another forum for shamelessly advertising themselves, perhaps with the next elections in mind.

It has to be emphasized also that while Mayor Mapili has been harassing the officials of EPDH to stop its vaccination, his own people are aghast by the way the LGU of Tayug, under his leadership, rolls out the vaccine as it is marred by issues of “favoritism” and “palakasan” including reported violations in the IATF-desired prioritization as printed by iNews, an online news media (www.iloilonews.ph)

It also bears stressing that Pursuant to Section 15, Article 2 of the 1987 Constitution and Section 16 of the General Welfare Clause of the Local Government Code, Mayor Carlos Trece Mapili has put his constituents at risk because of his egomania and narcissism.

While R.A. 115251 was passed to ensure the availability of the National Government’s support to the people through your approved BAYANIHAN FUND, the delay in the vaccination being perpetrated by Mayor Carlos Trece Mapili clearly establishes his bad faith and manifest intent to delay the support of the national government for the people of Tayug.

Mr. President, this vivid display of insensitivity of Mayor Carlos Trece Mapili to the hardships of his constituents in these trying times is absolutely inconsistent with your desired goal to ensure a responsive effort in inoculating the majority of our population for us to attain herd immunity or population protection and is, therefore, a clear violation of the constitutional right of every Tayugenian to access the nation’s resources during this difficult time.

Indeed, this infraction clearly established the bad faith and manifest intent of Mayor Carlos Trece Mapili of the Municipality of Tayug to cause the public–the people he has vowed to serve–wrong at these trying times.

It is not amiss also to state that these acts of Mayor Carlos Trece Mapili, if taken together, also constitute Abuse of Authority, Gross Negligence, and Grave Violation of the Provisions of the Local Government Code of the Philippines.

I, therefore, hope and pray that this will come to your immediate attention for the benefit of the people of Tayug.

Thank you very much and more power to you.

Very truly yours,

  • (Sgd.) NOEL R. CABOBOS
  • Founding Chairman, Bawal Ang Korap
  • Email: noel@bawalangkorap.com

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