âGet back to workâ: Palace chided for linking vaccination program to 2022 polls
Photo shows presidential spokesman Harry Roque.
Harry Roque Facebook page

‘Get back to work’: Palace chided for linking vaccination program to 2022 polls

Bella Perez-Rubio (Philstar.com) - May 18, 2021 - 5:57pm

MANILA, Philippines — “The vaccine is meant to save lives, not buy votes," a lawmaker reminded the Palace on Tuesday. 

Sen. Risa Hontiveros said this after presidential spokesman Harry Roque speculated that a successful inoculation program against COVID-19 would spell trouble for opposition bets in the upcoming 2022 elections.

“If the candidates of the administration have an advantage, it’s because first, there is a pandemic; second, they can see that the government has done everything; third, it will really depend on the vaccine rollout,” Roque said partially in Filipino on Monday during his regular briefing.

When the administration achieves a "better Christmas," he added, "that’s the problem of the opposition." 

Roque also said that opposition bets are praying that the Duterte administration fails in its vaccine rollout to boost their chances at the upcoming polls. 

"A 'better Christmas' should not be for opposition or administration candidates, but for the Filipino people," Hontiveros said on social media in response to Roque's remarks. "Get back to work." 

She also accused the administration of using and delaying the vaccination program for the campaigns of its candidates.  

"Hindi laro ang buhay ng taumbayan. Hirap at gutom ang mga tao, bakit pamumulitika ang patuloy na pinapakain sa kanila?" 

(The lives of the Filipino people are not a game. People are struggling and hungry, why are they continually being fed with politics?)   

Hontiveros earlier this month renewed her call for a special audit of the government's spending of pandemic funds, noting that the government has failed to release weekly financial reports to the public since January. These reports are required under the Bayanihan 2 law. 

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. in a prerecorded pandemic task force meeting aired Tuesday said the government has administered a total of 3,001,875 jabs as of May 16, utilizing less than half of the 7.77 million doses it has received in total. 

Since the government kicked off its inoculation campaign earlier this year, Galvez said 719,602 people have been fully vaccinated and over 2.28 million have received their first dose. 

READ: Galvez: Gov't targeting 500K daily vaccinations

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