DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya (File photo)

MANILA – The second phase of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccination for minors in Metro Manila will begin on October 22, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said Monday.

In a Laging Handa briefing, Malaya said they are targeting to vaccinate some 144,131 minors aged 15 to 17, prioritizing those with comorbidities, during the vaccination drive which will run until October 31.

“For parents who would want their children to be included in this second phase of minors' vaccination, coordinate with your respective local government unit. You would need to present a valid ID, the medical certificate of the child which proves his/her comorbidity, and clearance for vaccination,” he said.

Each locality has identified one hospital that will be included in the pediatric vaccination pilot run, which includes the Caloocan Medical Center, Ospital ng Parañaque, Pasay General Hospital, among others.

The first phase of the pediatric vaccination held last Oct. 15 was conducted in eight hospitals identified by the Department of Health while an additional 13 other hospitals run by local government units will join the second phase.

The eight hospitals included in last week's rollout of minors' vaccination include the Philippine Children's Medical Center, National Children's Hospital, Philippine Heart Center, Pasig City Children's Hospital, Fe Del Mundo Medical Center, Philippine General Hospital, St. Luke's Medical Center (Bonifacio Global City), and Makati Medical Center.

The National Task Force Against Covid-19 earlier said this would be expanded to minors aged 12 to 14, and eventually to those residing in the provinces.

Meanwhile, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said LGUs must employ plans of action that include addressing Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy as the government steps up efforts to attain population protection.

“I have directed all the LGUs already to craft the Risk Communication Strategy to include addressing the vaccine hesitancy,’’ Año said in response when asked over calls that the Covid-19 inoculation should be mandatory especially to those with underlying medical conditions with the virus still dangerously lurking in the country.

Over 45K establishments get safety seal

In the same briefing, Malaya said a total of 45,649 safety seal certifications out of the 86,159 applications were issued by the various government agencies to the establishments nationwide allowing them an additional 10 percent operational capacity,

Of the 12,652 safety seal certifications issued to the Metro Manila establishments, Malaya noted that the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) gave 4,152; Department of Tourism (DOT) handed 1,085; Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) approved 541; the DILG issued 12,154 with the local government units (LGUs) providing the bulk of the said certificates at 27,717.

With 9,794 denied applications, Malaya stated that merely applying for the safety seal certification does not guarantee its automatic approval as the establishment has to pass the safety seal guidelines set by the government.

He noted that the safety seal certification issued by the concerned agencies is very important for the businessmen since it gives them an additional operation capacity.

On the first day of the Alert Level 3 implementation in Metro Manila on Oct. 16, it was observed that there were huge crowds that flocked the malls, parks, supermarkets, and other public places, raising fears of another surge in infections.

Malaya disclosed that no untoward incidents occurred in the initial implementation of the Alert Level 3 in Metro Manila but admitted that there was a sudden influx of people in parks, plazas, public gardens, and scenic viewpoints due to the relaxed restrictions.

Ngunit pinapaalala natin sa ating mga kababayan na ito po (establishments and public scenic viewpoints) ay up to 30 percent lamang ng operational capacity nitong mga lugar na ito. So kailangan po nating sundin ito (health protocols) at pangalawa nga po ay gamitin po natin yung ating pagmamahal sa bansa at sana po ay umiral ang disiplina (But we are reminding the people that these places are allowed only up to 30 percent operational capacity. So we need to observe this and second, we should show our love for the country and hopefully, discipline prevails),’’ said Malaya. (PNA)