Vax czar orders removal of epal tarps in vax sites

By Mar S. Arguelles


Tarpaulins thanking politicians and government officials prominently on display in Legazpi City vaccination center were removed on Thursday, July 8, following the directive of vaccine czar Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr., not to use the government’s vaccination program for political gains.

Galvez instructed the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to look into reports of vaccination sites that are plastered with tarpaulins bearing the names of politicians and political groups.


He was reacting to media reports and online video footages showing tarpaulins (nang Pasasalamat) with pictures of Ako Bicol (AKB) Reps. Alfredo Garbin, Zaldy Co, and Albay Gov. Al Francis Bichara for the vaccination program undertaken at the Albay Astrodome in Legazpi City, which started on July 2 until July 8.


Among the tarpaulins conspicuously hanging at the front gate of the sports center was the “Thank You” tarp for Senator Bong Go for the support he gave to the province.


Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei Nograles and Mayor Chavit Singson of Narvacan, Ilocos Sur visited the city on July 2 to grace the turnover of 10,000 China- made Sinovac to Albay Gov. Al Francis Bichara.


The additional 10,000 single dose of Sinovac was issued by the National Vaccination Task Force after Bichara complained of receiving only 1,800 Sinovac doses for his province.


AKB Rep. Co facilitated the release of the 10,000 vaccines from the National Vaccination Program (NVP) headed by Galvez.


Galvez in his statement said, “We would like to emphasize that no individual or organization can take credit for the NVP because it is the product of a whole-of-government, whole-of-society approach.”


He said the program should not be politicized in any way because its main objectives are to protect the people against the disease, save lives, and bring a greater sense of normalcy to the people as we revive the economy.


“May this serve as a reminder to those who may have the intention of using our vaccine program for their political gains to stop such acts, and instead use their time, energy and resources to help convince our fellow Filipinos to get the jab,” Galvez warned.


Reactions to Galvez statement:


AKB Rep. Alfredo Garbin, in an interview, said “I totally agree that the tarps of political personality in vaccination center should be taken out,” saying he has no knowledge about the AKB tarpaulins placed by their supporters at the vaccination center.


For this Garbin said has immediately instructed the AKB secretariat to remove all the tarpaulins hung at the Albay Astrodome in compliance with Galvez’s order.


Meanwhile, AKB Rep. Elizalde Co, in a text message said he has no comment on this issue, “Good deeds lang tayo, we will follow rules.”


Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal said local government units are mandated to fully support the DOH “Resbakuna,” campaign so the tarpaulins produced by the city government with the picture of himself giving a “thumbs-up” sign was designed to encourage city residents to support the government vaccination program and at the same time urge health workers, senior citizens, and people with comorbidities to get vaccinated.