Editorial: Is there a program?

·2 min read

If planning is supposed to be a mark of good management, what is there to say about a stalled inoculation rollout for barangay health workers (BHW) for reasons that officials just found that the venue was far from ideal?

Initial batches of Covid-19 vaccines intended for BHWs have arrived, but Cebu City Vice Mayor Michael Rama, who heads the Vaccine Advisory Board (VAB), had to hold the vaccination after finding out that the designated venue, the Don Bosco Youth Training Center in Punta Princesa, lacked ventilation and other facilities such as comfort rooms. If not for the vaccine simulation held on March 19, 2021, the body would not have found out.

So that leaves the City scampering for an alternative, since the batch of AstraZeneca vaccines had to be disposed of in six days. It turns its eye on malls, and we wonder how much time it would eat up before a memorandum of agreement can be signed between government and mall owners.

Meanwhile, in the first quarter meeting of the Association of Barangay Councils (ABC), which invited representatives from the City Health Department (CHD), the role of village officials in the vaccination program remains a nagging question.

CHD division head Ilya Tac-an said barangays could facilitate pre-registration for its citizens according to sequence of priorities. The villages can also provide computers and internet connection and personnel to assist citizens in encoding personal data during interviews.

ABC president and Kasambagan Barangay Captain Franklyn Ong said they have not received communication yet on their role in the vaccination program. “You have to tell us. We just need a letter,” said Ong.

CHD officer-in-charge Jeffrey Ibones said the City’s Department of Social Welfare and Services had tasked day care teachers to conduct the profiling while they’re free from face-to-face classes. He apologized for the lack of proper communication, assuring that the VAB will soon coordinate with the barangay captains.

Inayawan Barangay Captain Kirk Bryan Repollo said they did instruct their day care teachers to conduct house-to-house profiling as instructed by the City Government, but they could only go that far without further instructions.

It must be recalled that as early as December, some officials in the City Council had already called for a comprehensive vaccination program. If the City had one as of this point, the rollout would not have experienced these anxieties and hitches. Everyone seemed surprised by not a few details, making them look like they’re solving problems as they come. Planning, foresight and good management are supposedly synonymous.