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    Montemayor pushes abolition of IATF, slams COVID-19 vaccination program

    MANILA, Philippines – Presidential candidate Jose Montemayor has expressed his dismay over some of the government's initiatives against COVID-19, particularly the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) against COVID-19 and the vaccination program.

    Presidential candidate Jose Montemayor said the IATF needs to be abolished
    Presidential candidate Jose Montemayor said the IATF needs to be abolished and Covid-19 vaccination shouldn't be mandatory |Photo Courtesy: PTV

    During the PiliPinas Debates 2022 on March 19, Montemayor slammed the IATF saying that the agency creates wrong resolutions for the Filipino people.

    Montemayor, who is a lawyer and a doctor, said that IATF needs to be abolished. He also said that COVID-19 vaccination should not be made mandatory.

    During his rebuttal against Senator Manny Pacquiao, Montemayor said, "Napakaganda ng lahat ng suggestion, yung kay Senator Pacquiao, dapat yang IATF i-abolish 'yan, yung resolution nila maling-mali 'yan. Vaccination is okay, but 'wag gawing mandatory."

    Pacquiao defended and replied, "Hindi masama ang IATF, kailangan lang ng guidance."

    Montemayor continued that it's wrong that IATF is composed of lawyers when the pandemic is a medical issue.

    He remarked, "Ang IATF nangunguna dyan mga abugado, but we have a health issue. 'Yong IATF nilagay tayo sa masamang sitwasyon."

    After his explanation, Mayor Isko Moreno defended the IATF. He clarified that the IATF is not only composed of lawyers. He explained that there are medical professionals who are part of the IATF.

    Moreno said, "I think he is not aware, but IATF is also supported by doctors, specialists, and the health sector, kaya mali po 'yong puro abugado lang."

    On the question if the Philippines is ready for another COVID-19 surge, part of Montemayor's answer reiterated the equal rights of the unvaccinated people. At one point, he emphasized that many rules discriminate against unvaccinated workers.

    He said, “Gusto natin mag-advance […] Pero ayaw nyo naman papasukin sa mga schools. Lalo na sa unvaccinated. Bigyan natin ng equal treatment para ganoon para maramdaman natin ang pag-ibig nila sa atin at pag-ibig natin sa kanila."

    At this point, Moreno continued to correct Montemayor and reminded the importance of providing the basic needs of the people such as food amid the pandemic.

    Moreno said, "I would like to remind the gentleman who is a lawyer and a doctor, no matter what, if we are not food-ready, especially this pandemic, tinuruan na tayo ng leksyon. Hindi tayo aasa sa pag-aangkat."

    — Sally, The Summit Express

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