Popular Philippine Senator Francis (Chiz) Escudero, who is being tauted as a presidential candidate for the May, 2010 elections, speaks to supporters in Manila on October 28, 2009. Escudero announced he has quit the Nationalist People's Coalition amid an alleged rift over party stalwarts on who to field as candidate for the election. AFP PHOTO / JAY DIRECTO (Photo credit should read JAY DIRECTO/AFP via Getty Images)

By Connie Calipay

LEGAZPI CITY – Sorsogon Governor Francis Escudero on Sunday questioned health authorities in Bicol on the allocation of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccines, noting that some areas are given more than the others.

In a statement posted on social media, he urged the Department of Health-Center for Health Development (DOH-CHD) in the region to explain why most of the 36,800 doses of vaccines that arrived in Bicol on Friday would be allocated to Albay province and the cities of Legazpi and Naga.

Escudero said Sorsogon also has cases of Covid-19, albeit low compared to other local government units (LGUs).

“I hope DOH CHD 5 (Bicol) can explain why 54 percent of the vaccine allocation is going to Albay and Naga and only 46 percent will be distributed to the remaining five provinces of Bicol where over 70 percent of the population live,” he said on his Twitter account.

In a report posted on Facebook last Friday, DOH-Bicol said the doses of vaccines packed in 23 boxes arrived aboard a Philippine Airlines commercial flight from Manila at around 9:30 a.m.

These were immediately brought to the DOH storage facility in this city for inventory and distribution.

The vaccines’ allocation is as follows: Albay – 10,000 vials, Legazpi City – 5,000; and Naga City – 5,000 vials, with the rest (16,800 vials) to be distributed to Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Sorsogon, Masbate, and Catanduanes.

In an earlier statement, DOH-Bicol explained that the number of vaccine doses that the region receives is not within its control.

“The National Government determines the vaccine allocation for the whole region as well as for some specific local government units where special allocations are provided,” the statement read.

The health agency added that in compliance with the vaccine rollout policy of the national government, it determines the allocation to the provinces and cities based on the number of eligible individuals master-listed under the priority groups starting with the A1 (front-line workers in the health sector) and A2 (senior citizens).

However, the municipal allocation is determined by the Provincial Health Offices and not by the DOH-Bicol, it added. (PNA)