Labella names Rama Covid-19 vaccine czar; VM says ‘no thanks’

·2 min read

CEBU City Mayor Edgardo Labella has appointed Vice Mayor Michael Rama as the vaccine czar, giving the latter authority to oversee the inoculation of the city’s target population against Covid-19.

The vice mayor’s appointment was confirmed by City Administrator Floro Casas Jr., who said the memorandum on Rama’s new role is expected to be issued by Labella on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021.

However, Rama said he does not need the title, saying he would be content to just be called the “convenor,” with Casas as his vice chairman.

Casas is a member of Cebu City’s vaccine board, which is headed by City Health Department head Dr. Jeffrey Ibones.

Rama said he “will just take” his appointment by Labella as a “full support for the convenor,” adding he does “not want to be called as vaccine czar.”

Rama’s challenge

Labella’s move came after Rama urged the mayor during a press conference on Sunday, Feb. 7 to divulge his real health condition.

Despite their public exchanges, Labella and Rama said they remain friends.

Rama also said in the Feb. 7 presser that Labella needs to be on top of the situation, especially with the recent spike in the number of Covid-19 cases in the city.

The city, says Rama, needs to have “a visible and active leader” who will lead the fight against the pandemic.

Rama called for a press conference after Labella urged him to “put aside politics.”

Rama, during the regular City Council session last Friday, Feb. 5, criticized Labella for not being present at City Hall despite the increasing new cases of Covid-19.

Labella has been working from home since Jan. 25, 2021 after he was discharged from the hospital for an ear infection.

Although he is working from home, Labella said he has been coordinating with the proper agencies for the implementation of necessary measures in response to the current Covid-19 situation. (PAC)