GENERAL SANTO CITY (PIA) -- The Regional Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases-Regional Task Force Against COVID 19 (RIATF EID-RTF COVID 19) and the Regional Coordinated Operations to Defeat Epidemic or CODE Team will initiate a ‘Face-to-Face Forum’ starting Wednesday April 6 until Friday April 8.
Dubbed the Immersion Program Part 2, the forum is geared toward improving the vaccination program of select local government units or municipalities, namely Lake Sebu and Surallah in South Cotabato; Glan and Malapatan in Sarangani; and Pikit and Carmen in Cotabato.
DILG XII Regional Director and RIATF-IED Chairperson Josephine Cabrido-Leysa, in a coordination meeting last week with agency partners and stakeholders, said the forum will engage municipal and barangay officials of those municipalities in a dialogue to discuss how low vaccination coverage impacts the future of local economy.
She noted that the vaccination is the only program where Region XII is lagging behind being placed at the bottom 3 among regions in the country due to low accomplishments.
“We’ve always been praised for our high accomplishments, good records... we’ve been told ang galing natin dito sa region pero ito lang talagang vaccination program na ito na nasa top 3 bottom tayo,” she said.
Cabrido-Leysa hopes the forum will increase LGUs’ resolve to improve their vaccination rate as well as their DICT-Vaccine Administration System (D-VAS) or simply VAS Line List compliance reports.
The D-VAS Line List contains the data of vaccinated individuals or records of vaccination events which the LGUs encode with assistance from the Department of Information and Communications Technology or DICT field team through the system and into the Vaccine Information Management System (VIMS).
Earlier Ronald Jones Hinay of DICT XII said the Line Lists are pre-requisites to getting the digital vaccine certificates of vaccinated individuals, urging data encoders of LGUs to take the time to double check every character in their data entries to avoid errors because the systems are “case sensitive.”
In a joint meeting by the RIATF EID-RTF Against COVID-19 on March 9, Regional Director Akmad Usman of the Dept. of Budget and Management (DBM) XII expressed concern about the region still being tagged under Alert Level 2 due to low vaccination coverage especially of the A2 category or the senior citizens.
He also said that the low implementation of COVID-19 vaccination has fiscal impact especially on the national tax allotment (NTA) of LGUs for the fiscal year 2023, suggesting then the need to push for some kind of a dialogue with the concerned LGUs to properly inform them through the RIATF EID-RTF COVID-19 and Code Team.
According to Dir. Usman, underperforming LGUs must have known by now that having a low vaccination rate is a serious matter come 2023 so they need to catch up and improve their implementation plan.
They will need all the help the regional line agencies can offer to elevate their performance status on the implementation of COVID-19 vaccination as soon as possible, he said.
The forum will be implemented by the DILG, OCD, DOH, DBM, DICT, DSWD, and the PIA.
As of April 1, Region XII remains under ‘Alert Level 2’ except for Kidapawan City in Cotabato Province; Polomolok and Sto. Nino in South Cotabato; and Tacurong City in Sultan Kudarat which are now classified under Alert Level 1 until April 15 based on IATF Resolution No. 165-E issued on March 31, 2022.
To be under Alert Level 1, LGUs must meet the conditions set by the IATF. These are 1. At least 70% of the target population are fully vaccinated; 2. At least 80% of the eligible senior citizens under A2 category are fully vaccinated; 3. Low and decreasing COVID 19 positive cases; and 4. Lower health care utilization rate in both hospitals and temporary treatment and monitoring facilities or TTMFs. (CTA/PIA SarGen)