Senator and chair of the Senate Committee on Health Christopher “Bong” Go virtually attended on Thursday, January 14, the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement between the Philippine government, participating local government units, private sector donors, and drug firm AstraZeneca for the procurement of seventeen million doses of COVID-19 vaccines.
The private sector had pledged to donate 2.6 million doses from AstraZeneca through the ‘A Dose of Hope’ program last November. Now a similar deal has been signed, which will secure an additional 14.4 million doses for the country. The first batch of doses is expected to arrive by July.
“Napakahalaga ng papel ng bakuna sa ating recovery mula sa kasalukuyang pandemya. Ito po ang magiging susi upang makabalik ang pamumuhay natin sa normal. Kaya naman, napakalaking bagay ng ceremonial signing na magaganap ngayong araw dahil opisyal na nitong uumpisahan ang ating pagbangon mula sa COVID-19,” the Senator said in his video message.
He also praised the combined efforts of the national government, LGUs, and private sector for delivering a timely and effective national vaccination program for Filipinos. He stressed the importance of a whole-of-nation approach in addressing the challenges of the pandemic and uplifting the lives of the people.
“This is a true showcase of how the Philippine government and private groups can unite in protecting its people against the pandemic. To everyone involved in the ‘A Dose of Hope’ project, I congratulate you on this achievement and may you never tire in supporting our countrymen and women, especially those who need it the most,” Go continued.
The ‘A Dose of Hope’ project is an initiative by the private sector to procure vaccines for the government. It is led by Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion.
“We are all part of the solution to this public health issue. Therefore, we must all share the responsibility if we want to recover from this pandemic,” added the Senator.
Meanwhile, Go urged concerned authorities to ensure that poor and vulnerable sectors, as well as medical and uniformed frontliners are prioritized to receive the vaccine in the first phases of administration as directed by President Rodrigo Duterte.
He also reiterated his call for a nationwide information campaign to educate the public on the various processes being undertaken and the distribution plan for the vaccine roll-out to raise the public’s confidence and allay fears.
In addition, the Senator said the government’s top priorities this 2021 are to address the issue of hunger, immunize the priority sectors, and promote economic recovery by providing more job opportunities.
“Asahan ninyong bibigyang prayoridad ng gobyerno ang tatlo sa mga pinakamahalahang hamon upang maka-recover na tayo sa COVID-19 pandemic. Una riyan ang kagutuman na siyang pinaka-urgent na dapat nating lutasin,” he stated.
“Ikalawa ang pagpapabakuna sa ating health workers at mga poor at vulnerable sectors na silang pinaka-nangangailangan ng vaccine. Panghuli, isusulong natin ang mga polisiya na mag-uudyok sa mga negosyo at investors na magbukas nang marami pang mga trabaho para sa ating mga kababayan,” he added.
Until the nation has achieved herd immunity, Go reminded everyone to diligently take the necessary precautions to protect themselves from the virus, reduce its transmission, and help to make their communities safer. He also stressed that maintaining the health and safety of the nation will require the cooperation of everyone.
“As I have said, this war is yet to be won. Hindi pa po tapos ang laban. We have to build on our early successes and learn from the lessons of the past year. I urge everyone to continue cooperating with the government and follow health and safety protocols to stop the spread of the disease,” appealed Go.
“Ang pakikipagbayanihan natin at pagmamalasakit sa kapwa ang susi upang maiahon ang ating mga kababayan mula sa hirap na dulot ng pandemyang ito. Tulad ng sinabi ng Pangulo, no Filipino should be left behind in our road towards recovery,” he ended.