By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Tuesday, January 12, said that the national government is targeting to start the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines before the end of the first quarter of 2021.
“Sa ngayon po ay ini-expect ng ating national government na, hopefully, bago matapos ang first quarter, makapag-umpisa na tayo makapagturok. Sinisiguro lang natin na safe ang vaccine na bibilhin,” Go said during an ambush interview right after he personally led the distribution of assistance to hundreds of fire victims and tricycle drivers in Obando, Bulacan.
As chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Go said that he will see to it that the poor and vulnerable sectors will be prioritized for the vaccine. However, he continued to urge the government to ramp up its information dissemination campaign to build vaccine confidence among Filipinos.
“Ang info campaign, paigtingin pa, at dapat maintindihan po ng bawat Pilipino kung ano bang benepisyo nitong vaccine na ito dahil marami pa pong kababayan natin ang takot at ang attitude, nagtuturuan, kayo muna mauna dahil takot pa sila,” he said, urging vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr. to ensure the safety, efficacy and adequacy of supply of the vaccines.
Go also urged concerned agencies to ensure the systematic distribution of the vaccines, saying “ang distribution ng vaccine, dapat aabot po sa pinakasulok ng Pilipinas. Tayo sa Metro Manila, mauuna tayo dahil nandito ang storage. Pero paano po ang mga kababayan natin sa pinakasulok ng Pilipinas? Paano aabot sa kanila ang vaccine?”
“Dapat pag-aralan na ‘di sila mahuhuli, lalo na po ang mahihirap, ni pambili wala po, ni access wala po,” he added.
To also help ensure a more efficient distribution of vaccines, Go said that he supports the move of some local government units to ink deals for the purchase of their own vaccines through a tripartite agreement. He, however, urged Sec. Galvez to formulate a process which will expedite the vaccine procurement of LGUs.
“Ako po, pabor ako d’yan at kung kaya nga po, nakikiusap ako kay Sec. Galvez, since dadaan naman sa kanya lahat, gumawa siya ng proseso paano natin gagawin na mapabilis ang pag-purchase ng LGU para ‘di na hahaba ang layer,” he said.
Go added that the government must guarantee the safety and efficacy of all the vaccines they are procuring on their level so that the public will not find the need to choose their own vaccines.
Meanwhile, Go said that he is pleased with the cooperation between the government and private sector to meet the country’s vaccine needs.
“Ongoing na po ang lahat ng pirmahan between private and government at natutuwa po ako na maraming private companies who are willing to purchase vaccines, ang kalahati sa empleyado nila, ang kalahati sa gobyerno (para mabigyan ang publiko),” Go said.
“Ibig sabihin ay nakikipagtulungan po ang pribadong sektor dahil lahat po — para malampasan ang pandemya — ay nakasasalalay sa vaccine na ito,” he added.
After the distribution of assistance in Obando, Bulacan, Go also attended the launch of the 98th Malasakit Center at the Casimiro A. Ynares Sr. Memorial Hospital in Rodriguez, Rizal. (AI/MTVN)