(SPOT.ph) Amid the surge in daily COVID-19 cases, Metro Manila mayors on January 3 "agreed in principle" to regulate the movement and activities of unvaccinated people in the National Capital Region. This was followed by President Rodrigo Duterte's statement on January 6 that gave barangay captains the authority to make sure that unvaccinated individuals stay home. "And if [they] refuse and go around the community, [they] can be restrained," he added. Vice President Leni Robredo, on the other hand, said that people must be given incentives to convince them to get vaccinated.
Also read: Here's Everything You Need to Know If You Have to Quarantine at Home
With government officials having either a punitive or incentivized approach in the vaccination drive, people on Twitter on Monday morning, January 17, lauded Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte's statement as "Mayor Joy" trended online. "Most market vendors cannot leave their stalls because of possible loss of income, so to encourage them to take a day off to get vaccinated, we will provide them with incentives," she said on January 12.
The mayor signed a memorandum to provide vendors and market employees with P2,000 to offset at least a day when they have to close their stores to get vaccinated. This applies to those who have not been vaccinated as of January 7, and are willing to be vaccinated until January 31. The masterlist of eligible market vendors, ambulant vendors, or market employees is provided by the local Market Development and Administration Department. After getting their first dose, they may claim their financial assistance within an allowable period at a separate venue.
In a now-viral post by Impact Leadership, this quote was placed side-by-side with Manila Mayor Isko Moreno's statement on January 13: "Mali ang gagawin ng gobyerno kapag hinihikayat ng isang ahensya ng gobyerno na bigyan ng bonus 'yong matitigas ang ulo. Dapat bigyan ng bonus 'yong mga masunurin, 'yong mga mabubuti."
Belmonte's stance was called by some as a "glow up," a "character development," or a "redemption arc," especially when compared to an earlier statement on March 19, 2020. At the start of the pandemic, critics called out the local government unit's alleged slow response to the COVID-19 crisis. "To those who hate me, you are under no obligation to accept any of my projects—housing, education, healthcare, social benefits. That means there will be more for those who truly have faith in me as their leader," she said.
With the circus happening around us, it's easy to shine even with a pretty standard response. Much more so if these words are put into action.