DAVAO CITY (MindaNews) — Making the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination mandatory for participants in face-to-face activities at 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) said they maintain their firm stand against mandatory vaccination. However, the local government of Davao has yet to finalize its decision.
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, 2nd district 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.
Schlosser said the local government has yet to release the festival guidelines, which will consider the inputs from the health and tourism sectors.
“This is not to pre-empt the protocol, but I do believe that the stand of the 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.
Schlosser said the local government is only “encouraging” the people to vaccinate 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)
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