THE perks that the Cebu City government is giving only to vaccinated individuals must remain.
This according to Cebu City Vice Mayor Michael Rama in response to the call of Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary Epimaco Densing for the City to take back its policy on allowing only vaccinated individuals to enjoy certain services offered in some businesses.
Rama, as acting mayor, issued Executive Order (EO) 138 on Sept. 2, 2021 urging restaurants and other food services in the City to allow vaccinated individuals to avail of their dine-in services.
The EO added that personal care services limited to beauty salons, barbershops, beauty parlors, and nail spas are also allowed to operate at 30 percent capacity but only for customers fully vaccinated against the Covid-19.
Rama issued the EO as a way to encourage Cebu City residents to get vaccinated.
Rama told SunStar Cebu he is not inclined to change his order, adding that he is only being fair with the vaccinated individuals and to the city’s business community.
“Why would we change that? What is the big reason for us to change it?” asked Rama.
Rama said when he came up with the EO, a consulation was made with the business community, DILG Central Visayas, the regional Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) and street vendors.
Rama said the IATF should, instead, revisit its protocols since the Covid-19 pandemic is no longer new.
He also said more local government units are planning to implement measures giving more opportunities for vaccinated individuals.
Meanwhile, a doctors’ group that advocated before the national government for the use of the anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin to treat Covid-19 is opposing a recommendation by a group of restaurateurs to allow only vaccinated individuals to dine in restaurants, calling the plan “unscientific, discriminatory and segregationist.”
“Any proposal advocating that the government should treat vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals differently goes against the constitutionally-protected right of Filipino citizens to equal opportunity and protection under the law regardless of race, ethnic origin, and personal and religious beliefs,” said Homer Lim, president of Concerned Doctors and Citizens of the Philippines (CDC Ph).
The Restaurant Owners of the Philippines (Resto PH) recently asked the government to allow more mobility for the vaccinated, including allowing them to dine in at establishments regardless of the prevailing quarantine level.
Lim said segregation is not only discriminatory but also unscientific, claiming that current medical data showed that vaccinated individuals can still spread Covid-19 and carry viral loads equivalent to unvaccinated individuals.
Lim quoted a report from the Guardian, a British newspaper, which recently reported a study by Oxford researchers which found that fully vaccinated adults can harbor virus levels as high as unvaccinated people if infected with the Delta variant.
The study compared results from about 2.6 million nose and throat swabs from more than 384,500 adults collected between December 2020 and mid-May 2021, against results from more than 811,600 test results from 358,983 adults between mid-May and August 2021, when the Delta variant became dominant in the United Kingdom.
“We cannot allow segregation policies to be used as a cudgel to beat down every Filipinos’ freedom of choice, specifically the right to make an informed decision on whether or not to receive Covid-19 vaccines,” Lim said.
Lim said freedom of choice and informed decision-making are of utmost importance because current Covid-19 vaccines were approved only under an emergency use authorization without long-term clinical trials on side effects and adverse reactions.
CDCPh is among the groups asking the government to consider the use of Ivermectin to treat Covid-19.
The group endorsed the use of Ivermectin despite warnings from various medical institutions, including the United States Center for Disease Control (US-CDC) and the Department of Health (DOH), that there is insufficient evidence that the anti-parasitic drug is effective against Covid-19.
Just a few months after the Covid-19 pandemic began, the same group also called upon the national government to lift all lockdowns across the country and advocated for the use of the controversial anti-viral drug hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) as prophylaxis to prevent Covid-19 infection.
The World Health Organization (WHO) does not recommend the use of HCQ as Covid-19 treatment as studies show that it has little to no effect in preventing illness, hospitalization or death from Covid-19. (JKV / PR )