By Senator Bong Go
We are on our way toward finally defeating this virus as our vaccination efforts continue to go into full gear.
As of writing, we have obtained 14.2 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, according to National Task Force against Covid-19 Chief Implementer and Vaccine Czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr.
The Philippines ranks second in the Southeast Asian region in terms of total doses administered and has breached the eight-million mark in the number of anti-Covid jabs administered.
The country can also expect more vaccines being donated to developing countries, including the Philippines, as other countries recently signified their intention to do so.
This is on top of what the government is procuring for our people.
The Philippine government continues to ensure that we will have sufficient number of vaccines necessary to attain herd immunity, as indicated in various agreements negotiated and signed with various funding agencies and vaccine manufacturer, plus the COVAX Facility.
Given these untiring efforts, I urge my fellow government workers, especially our local chief executives, to ensure the continuous deployment of the vaccines. Let us take it upon ourselves to bring the vaccine rollout closer to those who may have trouble getting them, such as the elderly and persons with disabilities who cannot leave their homes and the people who live in rural and hard-to-reach areas.
I also encourage our partners in the public and private sector to come up with creative means to encourage more people to get their shots.
The vaccine is the key to us eventually returning to normalcy, achieving herd immunity in the community, and in overcoming this pandemic at the soonest possible time.
This is the first step to securing the welfare and building on the positive change that this administration has worked hard for in order to fulfill the President’s promise of a more comfortable life for all. The more people are vaccinated while case counts continue to decrease, the more restrictions will be loosened, allowing us to resume our normal activities toward a new hope of a brighter future.
Let us not waste the opportunity to get the protection we need against the virus. Getting vaccinated is perhaps one of the best contributions we can give in the bayanihan efforts to overcome this crisis as one nation.
While we understand that taking it is one’s choice, we ask you to make the right choice for the betterment of not only ourselves, but of our communities, especially our loved ones. Rest assured that vaccines provided to you are free and have been determined safe and effective by health authorities.
In the meantime, you can substantially reduce the risk of catching and spreading Covid-19 by following these four protocols: (1) Observe social distancing; (2) wear your mask and face shield; (3) wash or sanitize your hands frequently, and (4) avoiding non-essential travels.
These small sacrifices are crucial in saving and securing the lives of others.
Protecting ourselves to avoid the further spread of the virus is the best service we can give to fellow Filipinos.
As we find ways to alleviate the burdens of our people, I, together with my office, also continue to reach out to the poor and marginalized communities whose lives and livelihoods have been adversely impacted by Covid-19, calamities, fire incidents and other crisis situations.
From 15 to 19 June, we delivered much needed aid to a total of 1,889 workers of the Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan in Mariveles, Bataan; 980 tour guides and Tricycle Operators and Drivers Association (TODA) members in Badian and Moalboal, Cebu; 507 market vendors and TODA members in Hinunangan, Liloan, and Saint Bernard, Southern Leyte; 700 market vendors and TODA members in Alangalang and Barugo, Leyte; and 469 retrenched and youth workers in Polomolok, South Cotabato.
We also assisted 1,037 senior citizens and displaced individuals due to the pandemic at the Department of Social Welfare and Development Central Office in Quezon City; and 317 families under the Retooled Community Support Program from Barangays Bora, Candoros and Magtino in Llorente, Eastern Samar.
Apart from this, our office provided emergency assistance to residents affected by recent fire incidents, including 200 families from Barangays 275 and 286 in Manila City; four families in Barangays San Miguel and Del Monte in the Island Garden City of Samal, Davao del Norte; 100 beneficiaries in Barangay Ilang, Davao City; and 10 beneficiaries in Barangay Carolina in Can-Avid, Eastern Samar.
Moreover, we brought additional aid to 203 families affected by typhoon “Ulysses” in Marikina City; and 44 patients at the Philippine General Hospital in the City of Manila during the ceremonial turnover of financial assistance provided by the Office of the President.
In the same week, I personally witnessed the launch of the country’s 120th Malasakit Center at the San Lazaro Hospital in Santa Cruz, Manila City, during which our team distributed assistance to 1,526 frontline medical workers and 116 indigent patients.
Throughout these activities, we provided meals, food packs, vitamins, masks and face shields, as well as other forms of aid depending on the beneficiaries’ needs. Furthermore, representatives from various government agencies were likewise present to offer services through their existing programs for communities in crisis situations.
All activities were conducted in small batches with the required health standards and protocols in place to prevent the further spread of Covid-19.
Rest assured that we are on our way toward finally defeating this virus as our vaccination efforts continue to go into full gear.
As we inch our way toward a better tomorrow, your cooperation, compassion and care for others can save lives! So, let us continue to work together and cooperate with the government so we can fully heal and recover as one nation.