COVID-19: Topmost reelection issue for NCR mayors
In nearly 13 months, campaign period for general elections on May 2022 will officially start. And rightly so, most prominent issue for Metro Manila mayors is how they handled the virus in their respective areas.
From my view, some parameters are, first, delivery of ‘relief goods” during nationwide lockdowns. Second, delivery of “medical services” especially in city owned-operated district hospitals, and third, mobilization of barangay personnel in COVID response projects. Fourth is peace and order and probably last but very important will be delivery of free vaccines at the end of this year.
But let’s look at DOH latest data drop. The good news is that nationwide, we have a very low attack rate of only 0.48 percent (487,690 cases vs 100,981,437 population).
Compare this to Metro Manila where the highest attack rates are: Mayor Francis Zamora’s San Juan (3.22 percent), followed by Mayor Miguel Ponce’s Pateros (3.16 percent), while tied at third and fourth places are Mayor Abby Binay’s Makati and Mayor Emy Calixto-Rubiano’s Pasay (2.45 percent) .
Mayor Toby Tiangco’s Navotas is fifth (2.23 percent), followed by Mayor Menchie Abalos’ Mandaluyong (2.1 percent), Malabon (1.82 percent), Mayor Lino Cayetano’s Taguig (1.76 percent), Pasig (1.70 percent), Mayor Edwin Olivarez’ Paranaque (1.64 percent), Mayor Marcy Teodoro’s Marikina (1.57 percent), Valenzuela (1.54 percent), and Manila (1.51 percent). The three lowest attack rates are Mayor Jaime Fresnedi’s Muntinlupa (1.33 percent), Mayor Imelda Aguilar’s Las Pinas (1.21 percent) and Caloocan (0.94 percent).
This ‘Attack rate” is a first and foremost issue for national government, DILG, IATF, DOH and medical expert groups. It is a useful barometer of LGU’s overall capability versus COVID-19.
While the national fatality rate is presently at 1.93 percent, the virus is most lethal in Mayor Vico Sotto’s Pasig (2.6 percent), Mayor Rex Gatchalian’s Valenzuela (2.5 percent), Mayor Lenlen Oreta’s Malabon (2.3 percent), Mayor Isko Moreno’s Manila (2.1 percent), Mayor Abby Binay’s Makati and Mayor Oscar Malapitan’s Caloocan (2.0 pct).
These mayors can blame their high scores on the innate “stubbornness” of some of their constituents, but still, perceptions of their individual management skills in controlling the virus in their areas are very crucial.
Recently, two published surveys tried to influence public mindset on every mayor’s COVID performance. The first end of year survey cited the top ten LGUs led by Quezon City, Pasig, Manila, Valenzuela, Marikina, Taguig, Navotas, Makati, Mandaluyong and San Juan. The other survey listed the top ten leaders of Valenzuela, Pasig, Marikina, Manila, Taguig, Caloocan, Navotas, San Juan, Quezon City and Mandaluyong. In my opinion, believing these surveys is highly subjective because we are aware that they are probably manipulated or self serving to some of these politicians.
As of this writing, OCTA research survey says that only 25 percent of Metro Manila residents are willing to be vaccinated, but some mayors are rushing to close deals on vaccines for their constituents, led by Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte and Makati Mayor Abby Binay allotting P1-B each. Manila mayor Isko Moreno appropriated for 800,000 doses while Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto set aside more than P300 million. San Juan, Caloocan, Navotas and Valenzuela are also closing deals with either Astrazeneca or Pfizer-Biontech.
These planned acquisitions and repeated public announcements on vaccines clearly indicate that reelection season is now in the air. With actual injections arriving probably in the third or last quarter of this year, its closeness or four or five months to the start of campaigns in February will set on wildfire local politics in every Metro Manila city.
As the bayang karerista are saying, There they go!
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