(File photo)

MANILA – Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benjamin C. Abalos Jr. on Thursday urged local government units (LGUs) to immediately address the 1.4 million backlog in the registration of vaccination records in the Vaccination Information Management System (VIMS) that is needed for the issuance of VaxCertPH.

VaxCertPH is the government’s official digital vaccination certificate program, which is based on the centralized data in the VIMS.

“This has long been an issue in our LGUs as we try to improve the inventory of Filipino citizens who have registered for VaxCertPH. We implore our LGUs to work double time in addressing their backlogs in the VIMS,” Abalos said in a statement.

He noted that the VIMS has a total backlog of 1,460,582 vaccination records as of September 22 – a total of 334,317 of which were due to missing records; 308,386 were not recorded for lack of manpower; 243,300 were due to late submission; 122,897 had incomplete data; 109,806 had missing data fields; 94,575 had operational and procedural issues; and 75,831 had issues with Internet connections, among others.

“Tuloy tuloy po ang ating kampanya sa pagpapabakuna kaya kailangang maitala na po ang vaccine records ng ating mga mamamayan upang hindi ito tumambak pa (Our vaccination program is a continuing campaign, that is why we need to register our people’s vaccine records to avoid backlogs),” Abalos said.

He underscored the importance for LGUs to ensure that the digital records of their vaccinated constituents are updated, especially because VaxCertPH is among the most widely recognized vaccination certificates globally, being accepted in 94 countries and territories.

VaxCertPH is among the few vaccination certificates compliant with international standards, including the World Health Organization’s (WHO) guidelines on digital documentation of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) certificates, the Digital Infrastructure for Verifiable Open Credentialing, and European Union Digital Covid-19 Certificate standards.

Thus, VaxCertPH is accepted among the top trading, investment, tourism, and Filipino migrant destinations, and partner countries of the Philippines.

In an urgent memorandum issued earlier, Abalos reminded all local chief executives and LGU VaxCertPH focal persons that the records of all vaccinated individuals should be accurately uploaded to the VIMS on the same day, or within 24 hours of an individual’s inoculation.

LGUs are likewise directed to provide capacity building and technical support and coordinate other immediate concerns on the VaxCertPH project with their counterparts at the Department of Health and Department of Information and Communications Technology in the regions and assign human and financial resources for the encoding of line-list data, the rectification of records, and setting up of VaxCertPH booths in strategic places in the LGUs.

Abalos also directed all concerned DILG officials and personnel to closely coordinate with their respective LGUs to address the concerns and provide the necessary support for the swift and efficient implementation of the program.

“Tulungan po natin ang ating mga LGUs na ma-address ang causes ng backlog para sa mabilis at maayos na implementasyon ng programang ito (We must assist our LGUs in addressing the backlog causes to facilitate the speedy and efficient implementation of this program),” he said.

Complaints vs. erring barangay officials

As this developed, Abalos urged the public to file their complaints against erring elective barangay officials before their respective local legislative councils that have jurisdiction over barangay-related cases under existing laws.

“While the DILG exercises general supervision over local governments as the alter ego of the President, the task of disciplining erring barangay officials is with the Sangguniang Bayan or Sangguniang Panlungsod where the barangay belongs,” he said, citing Section 61 of the Local Government Code (Republic Act 7160).

Section 61 stipulates that a verified complaint against any elective barangay official shall be filed before the Sangguniang Panglungsod or Sangguniang Bayan concerned whose decision shall be final and executory.

“Sa halip na idulog niyo sa DILG ang inyong mga reklamo sa inyong mga kapitan o mga kagawad sa barangay, ilapit niyo ang mga ito sa inyong mga sanggunian para mas mabilis itong ma-aksyunan (Instead of lodging your complaints against your barangay officials with the DILG, raise your concerns with the provincial or municipal council for faster action),” he said.

“Ang inyong mga sanggunian ang may kapangyarihan na humawak sa mga reklamo ninyo laban sa mga opisyal ng inyong barangay. Bukas ang kanilang tanggapan sa sinumang may mga verified complaints (Your councils have the authority to address complaints against your barangay officials. Their offices are open to anyone who has) verified complaints.” (With a report from Priam Nepomuceno/PNA)