By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Senator Sonny Angara said today that there should be more public-private partnerships during this time to accelerate the country’s vaccination program and speed up the recovery of the economy from the slump brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking at the webinar “Leadership during Crisis: Ensuring a Resilient Economy through Public and Private Collaboration” organized by the Ateneo de Manila University School of Government, Angara said the importance of public and private partnerships was all the more highlighted during the last 12 months when the country had to deal with the pandemic.
After the country health system was overwhelmed by the sheer number of COVID-19 cases that emerged in the initial months of the pandemic, Angara noted that the private sector stepped up to collaborate with the government in ensuring that there was enough personal protective equipment and face masks for health workers; food and financial assistance for the affected families; and ramping up the capabilities for testing, tracing and treatment.
“In every instance and more, there was Bayanihan in action. In every instance, there were different organizations and groups working together, collaborating, and cooperating. In every instance, there was no clear divide between the public and private sector,” Angara said.
“What should be clear to us now is that this heightened level of engagement between government agencies, private companies, and civil society needs to continue even after the pandemic. But most especially because of the critical tasks at hand of immunizing our people, preventing even more COVID-19 cases as we reopen and building back a more resilient and inclusive economy,” Angara added.
In the current vaccination program of the government, Angara said the collaboration with the private sector is crucial in order to bring in more vaccines and inoculate a bigger portion of the population.
Angara said the public and private partnerships will also be needed to ensure that there will be enough professionals to vaccinate as many people as possible.
“If we can immunize our people expediently and prevent any more COVID-19 infections, then we will survive this pandemic. But for us to emerge stronger and more resilient, we need to start thinking ahead and plant the seeds of our future growth and prosperity today,” said Angara who sponsored the recently-enacted Republic Act 11525 or the COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021.
Angara said the strong collaboration that has developed during the crisis that is the COVID-19 pandemic should continue even when the situation returns to normal.
“We have to help each other. We need each other, not just to survive, but to thrive,” Angara said.
Angara has also introduced several initiatives to build up the capacities of local enterprises to produce more in order to reduce the dependence on imports and eventually, export these once they are capable of doing so.
In the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) bill that was approved by Congress, Angara introduced amendments that would grow the local pool of enterprises that could supply to domestic and global value chains, reduce dependence on imports, and expand domestic supply of products.
The amendments introduced by Angara in CREATE, along with other interventions he has made in the budgets of the various government agencies over the years, are all part of his Tatak Pinoy advocacy, which is aimed at helping Filipino industries and professionals become more globally competitive.
“We envisioned that through this initiative, the country produces and exports more complex high-value products and services; encourages more investments, and creates more job opportunities at home for Filipinos,” Angara said.
“With this pandemic, this program is fast becoming our attempt at helping jumpstart our recovery and building back a more resilient, more inclusive economy,” Angara added. (AI/MTVN)