Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar assured indigenous peoples (IPs) that they would included in the national government’s coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) immunization drive.
During the Cabinet Report on “The New Normal” on Friday, Andanar said President Rodrigo Duterte has a clear policy that no one will be left behind, as the government intends to vaccinate Filipinos against Covid-19.
“The President is right that no one should be left behind. Filipinos who are leaving the country for work, members of the indigenous cultural communities and living in geographically-isolated and -disadvantaged areas should also be given priority,” Andanar said in Filipino.
Andanar said members of IP communities, as well as those residing in geographically-isolated and -disadvantaged areas, should grab the opportunity to get inoculated with Covid-19 vaccine shots.
“If many of us are not protected, [Covid-19] will remain a threat to us,” he said in Filipino. “That’s why our reminder is, if it’s your turn then get vaccinated.”
Dr. Angelica Cachola, medical officer of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), said some IPs were initially hesitant to receive the Covid-19 vaccine jabs.
Despite this, there are still members of the indigenous community who want to avail of the vaccine, Cachola said.
To allay the IP’s initial Covid-19 vaccine apprehension, Cachola said community service centers are ensuring the smooth delivery of basic health services to indigenous cultural community amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Health workers in service centers are holding a meeting on how they could explain the threat posed by Covid-19 and the importance of vaccination,” she said in Filipino.
Cachola said the NCIP is also coordinating with local government units for the possible establishment of a “halfway house” to accommodate IP members who want to get vaccinated but are far from health centers.
“For those who are far from health centers, we are making a way to reach them by establishing a temporary house for those leaving their ancestral domain,” she said in Filipino.The Philippine government’s goal is to inoculate up to 70 million this year to achieve population protection. SOVEREIGNPH