COVID-19: Vote Factor for Reelectionists, Wannabes

WITH THE 2022 elections less than a year away, reelectionists and wannabes are beginning to show hints of their plans, strategizing for battles ahead. Many might seek reelection, while some have reached their limit of three terms in office, which opens them up to either a run for higher positions or maybe retirement from politics. These will all take shape in the first week of October 2021, when the filing of candidacies for the 2022 polls takes place.

For governors and mayors, the COVID-19 crisis management is the topmost reelection issue. In nearly nine months, the campaign period for general elections in May 2022 will officially start. And rightly so, the most prominent issue for local chief executives is how they handled the virus in their respective areas.

In my personal opinion, the voters’ criteria to reelect a governor or mayor as far as the COVID-19 crisis is concerned are as follows: 1. Delivery of ‘Relief Goods or Ayuda” during the heightened lockdowns. 2. Delivery of “Medical Services and Cash Assistance” especially in LGU Owned-Operated Hospitals and House-to-House Method. 3. Mobilization of LGU and Barangay Healthcare Workers in COVID Response Projects. 4. Educational Support to Online Learners and Teachers. 5. Peace and Order. 6. Disaster Preparedness and Mitigation 7. Business Continuity, and probably last but very important is No. 8. – Free Vaccination.

As of this writing, based on DOH latest nationwide data (June ? the active new cases is 4.4 percent (56,452) with a total number of 1,280,773 cases vs 100,981,437 population. There are 93.9% or 1,202,257 recovered, and 1.72% or 22,064 total deaths.

Compare this to Pampanga where the highest PCR Confirmed Cases as June 07, 2021 are: Mayor Edwin Santiago’s City of San Fernando (5,015), followed by Mayor Cris Garbo’s Mabalacat City (3,031), Mayor Carmelo ‘Pogi’ Lazatin’s Angeles City (1,757), Mayor Teddy Tumang’s Mexico (1,237), Mayor Dante Torres’ Guagua (1,007), Mayor Jaime “Jing” Capil’s Porac (955), Mayor Esmeralda Pineda’s Lubao (865), Mayor Romulo Pecson’s Magalang (798), Mayor Darwin Manalansan’s Floridablanca (788), Mayor Oscar “Jun” Tetangco’s Jr. Apalit (751), Mayor Rene Maglanque’s Candaba (654), Mayor Emmanuel Bonifacio Alejandrino’s Arayat (620), Mayor Eduardo “Diman” Datu’s Bacolor (486), Mayor Leonardo Flores’ Macabebe (396), Mayor Edgardo Flores’ Minalin (391), Mayor Ferdinand Salalila’s Sta. Rita (353), Mayor Norberto Gamboa’s Sta. Ana (334), Mayor Abundio Punsalan’s Jr. San Simon (302), Mayor Gloria Ronquillo’s Sto. Tomas (290), Mayor Jayson Sagum’s San Luis (223), Mayor Danilo Guintu’s Masantol (155), and Mayor Nardo Velasco’s Sasmuan (138) with a total PCR confirmed cases of 20,546.

These mayors can blame their high scores on the innate “stubbornness” of some of their constituents, but still, public perceptions of their crisis management skills in stemming the transmission of the virus in their areas are very crucial.

Angeles City Mayor Carmelo “Pogi” Lazatin Jr. has been lauded by the Department of Education (DepEd) in a virtual recognition of Government and Community Stakeholders recognizing the topmost involvement and participation of various stakeholders in ensuring that education must continue amidst the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. He has allotted Php 209 million to purchase 61,200 computer tablets for Grades 4 to 12 students and 2,997 public school teachers in 53 public schools, and scholars in the City College of Angeles (CCA). Lazatin also distributed free internet cards to 65,000 Grades 4 to 12 students in the city’s public schools for their online learning. The cards, which are for three-year use, give the pupils access to 700 WiFi spots for free internet connection. One access point provides 50 to 100 Mbps.Lazatin funded Php 20 million for 200 access spots. Access spots, or points, are laid out throughout the city, and these provide the signals for WiFi.

In observance of the Happy Daycare Week, Lazatin has extended his utmost appreciation to all Day Care Workers who spent their time assisting the city government in the distribution of food packs for families in need, and in conducting the house-to-house survey for the COVID-19 vaccination program. In recognition of their service, Lazatin has provided an additional Php 1,000.00 to their monthly salaries.

Meanwhile, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) awarded Candaba Mayor Maglanque for its “Adopt-a-Family Project”as part of their Documentation of LGU Good Practices Against COVID-19 entitled, “Rising Above The Challenge of Addressing the COVID-19 Pandemic.”

In Angeles City alone, as of June 8, 2021, the total first dose vaccinated is 24,625 while the total fully vaccinated is 5,057. The city government recently opened another vaccination site to ramp up its inoculation efforts of its residents against COVID-19.

Lazatin Jr. said with the designation of the Angeles City National High School (ACNHS) in Barangay Pampang as the second Covid-19 vaccination site, the city is capable of inoculating 4,000 residents a day. The City College of Angeles (CCA), which is the city’s first vaccination center, can accommodate 2,000 residents daily. The city government is targeting its third vaccination area in Sapalibutad Elementary School, which is expected to serve 1,000 residents a day and in a few months a mobile vaccine clinic will be available to encompass the entire city especially remote villages with no access to public transportation and can deliver doses directly to communities most impacted by the pandemic.

At present, the city government is conducting vaccination at the CCA to priority groups A1-the health workers; A2-the elderly; and A3-persons with comorbidities or those with existing health conditions. The vaccine rollout started here in March. The vaccines administered — AstraZeneca and Sinovac — were initially donated by the Department of Health (DoH). The city government is still waiting for the arrival of the purchased vaccines, using the PHP203.81 million budget.

I love Angeles City because I know the way. I know the way to avoid traffic when it’s insane and when it’s slow. I know the way to the best public restroom. I know all the ways around the city: north from Bgy. Balibago with its bright lights at night and south to Bgy. Sto. Domingo where I spent my elementary and secondary years in Chevalier School and the westward neighborhood of excellent cafes, desserts, and delectable food across Fil-Am Friendship highway. I know the way because this is where I was born and raised, and no place will ever feel more free, more alive and more home than here. We are famous for innovation and entrepreneurship, our foodie culture and we have a rich history. Mayor Lazatin is doing an excellent job for our city. He is striking the balance between economy, education and saving lives amid the pandemic. I salute Mayor Lazatin for the compassion to help our city to recover from this crisis and all the tremendous efforts you have done in your FIRST TERM AND BEYOND!

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