MANILA – The inoculation of local chief executives (LCEs) is not a “privileged access” but part of boosting efforts to respond to the prevailing health crisis, National Task Force Against Covid-19 chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said on Tuesday.
Galvez, also the country’s vaccine czar, said the local government units (LGUs) have been very dedicated to helping the national government contain the spread of Covid-19, particularly in their respective localities.
“We would like to emphasize that this is not privileged access. Since the start of the pandemic, these LGUs have been at the forefront in the government’s efforts to boost the nation’s Covid-19 response and mitigation efforts,” Galvez said in a statement.
Galvez also emphasized the importance of securing the safety and welfare of every front-liner such as healthcare workers, essential government workers, and the private sector—as he described them the “trinity of war” amid the pandemic.
“This trinity of war is the reason why the nation has been able to confront head-on the challenges brought about by the pandemic,” he said. “The national government must therefore do everything to ensure their health and safety.”
Galvez likewise praised the private sector for donating resources and helping the government during the pandemic.
He said the private sector has helped the government to scale up the country’s testing, contact tracing, and treatment capacity.
They also have contributed to the vaccine acquisition, procurement as well as vaccination drive, he added.
“The trinity of war concept is anchored on the Duterte Administration’s commitment of protecting the nation’s most vulnerable sectors such as the poor and senior citizens,” he said. “The country’s health, local government, and private sectors all aim to serve the needs of the Filipino people. If any of these sectors get overwhelmed, it will become more difficult for our nation to recover from this pandemic.”
He also lauded the LGU chief executives for exerting all efforts and sacrificing a lot of their resources to ensure they could respond to the needs of their constituents amid the pandemic.
“Our LGUs, as well as our economic front-liners are among the nation’s unsung heroes. As our health care workers battle the pandemic, our local chief executives and essential workers are making sure that Filipinos continue to have access to vital services,” he said.
He cited the significant roles of the LGUs in the country’s fight against the pandemic.
“Leaders provide direction and inspiration to their constituents and the need for them to be protected is a must to sustain the fight against this dreaded virus,” he said.
In a Palace press briefing on Monday, Galvez expressed his admiration for the dedication of the health workers to treat Covid-19 patients though many of them were infected with the virus.
“So ako po ay talagang saludung-saludo sa ating mga health care workers at sinasabi nga po nila na gusto nga po nila na magkaroon po ng message ang ating mahal na Presidente para sa kanila. And then I gave them iyong message na pinagawa po ng RTVM [Radio Television Malacañang] at maraming, maraming salamat po (So, I really salute our health care workers and they said that they want our President (Rodrigo Roa Duterte) to have a message for them. And then I gave them the message produced by RTVM and thank you so much),” he said.
Galvez, meanwhile, reminded the public to continue observing the minimum health standards and community quarantine protocols.
“We urge our countrymen to continue supporting our health workers, preserve the integrity of government institutions, and patronize the private sector in our fight against this invisible enemy. Together we must muster our strong solidarity in supporting each other to win this battle,” he said.
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has earlier approved the inclusion of select local chief executives within high and critical risk provinces, cities, and municipalities in the government’s vaccine priority list under category group A1.5, along with healthcare workers. (PNA)