(File photo)

MANILA – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Thursday urged officials of the country's 42,046 barangays to take advantage of the barangay assembly days set for this month to encourage their constituents to get vaccinated against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

“We call on the Punong Barangays (PBs) and other officials to fulfill their mandate and conduct Barangay Assembly Days. I hope the barangays use this opportunity to talk to their constituents and encourage them to be vaccinated and boosted against Covid-19,” DILG Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. said in a statement.

“Use this as an avenue to inform your constituents of the undertakings and accomplishments of your barangays and discuss issues and concerns and plans for the future,” Abalos said.

Abalos said barangay chiefs must take advantage of the barangay assembly to discuss the advantages of getting boosted and vaccinated against Covid-19 and invite the citizens to partake in government vaccination campaigns such as PinasLakas.

He likewise said they must inform the public that Covid-19 booster shots are now accessible in their workplace, transportation terminals and drug stores, among others.

As of Oct. 11, records from the Department of Health show that 20,195,895 Filipinos have been administered with Covid-19 booster shots while 73,342,216 have complete initial vaccination status and 70,756,003 had their first dose.

Abalos said the barangay assembly may be conducted through face-to-face, online, or blended modes.

According to the Local Government Code and Proclamation 599, series of 2018, barangays are required to conduct barangay assembly for each semester of the year on any of the Saturdays or Sundays of March and October to hear and discuss the semestral report of the Sangguniang Barangay concerning its activities, finances and issues.

For the second semester of 2022, the Barangay Assembly Day theme is “Barangayanihan: Barangay at Mamamayan Sama-sama sa Pagtaguyod ng Bayanihan Tungo sa Mas Ligtas at Maunlad na Pamayanan,” which is in line with President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s call for unity in community-building.

Probing threats vs. journos

As this developed, Abalos pledged to look into the death threats directed at TV5 broadcast journalists Ed Lingao and Lourd De Veyra.

A certain “Seth Corteza of Metrosun” recently tweeted “Balita ko may dalawa pang kasama sa kontrata na itutumba pero di ko alam ang eksaktong oras at petsa o lugar. Sila Ed Lingao at Lourd ng TV5 (What I know is there are two more persons included in the contract that must be killed but I don't know the exact date or place. They Ed Lingao and Lourd of TV5).”

“We will have this looked into by the (Anti) Cybercrime (Group) and we will have this traced,” Abalos said.

Abalos reiterated his appeal to members of the media not to hesitate in reporting to authorities threats to their life.

“Our office is always open for the journalists. If there is a threat at all, just let us know. That is a priority (of the DILG),” he added.

Lingao said the tweet came a day after radio broadcaster Percival Mabasa, also known as Percy Lapid, was shot dead by two assailants in Las Piñas last Oct. 3. (PNA)