Go co-sponsors measure creating Vaccine and Health Passport Program

Go co-sponsors measure creating Vaccine and Health Passport Program

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA — Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go recently co-sponsored
Senate Bill No. 2422, which will create the Vaccine and Health
Passport Program and thereby strengthen efforts of the government to
keep track of all individuals who are vaccinated against COVID-19.

In a speech delivered at the Senate session, Go highlighted the
importance of the vaccine passports as an important tool to facilitate
the safe movement of individuals, particularly overseas Filipino
workers, within the country and across its borders without risking a
new wave of infections.

“Importante ito para magkaroon tayo ng uniform proof of vaccination.
Mahalaga rin ito sa mga OFWs na kailangang magpakita ng proof of
vaccination sa kanilang mga destinasyon. Kailangan lang siguraduhin na
acceptable ito na pruweba kung saan man sila magpunta,” said Go.

“In fact, sa mga seafarers nga ay dapat bigyan sila ng priority ‘yung
mga one dose na bakuna (para) hindi na sila pabalik-balik at maghintay
ng mahabang panahon bago sila makapagtrabaho muli,” he added.

As Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Go had previously appealed
to the Inter-Agency Task Force to consider the requirements needed by
Filipino workers to resume their work abroad, such as allocation of
vaccines that are acceptable in their countries of destination, as
well as the necessary documentation to prove that they have been
vaccinated.
Meanwhile, as Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Go also urged
concerned authorities to come up with innovative ways to incentivize
fully vaccinated Filipinos to improve vaccine confidence and help the
country achieve population protection leading to herd immunity at the
soonest possible time in order to reopen the economy.

“Nakakatuwa naman ngayon, sa kakaikot ko mahigit 50% na ‘yung
nagtataas ng kamay at talaga na rin pong gusto nilang magpabakuna
matapos na tumaas ‘yung kaso dahil na rin sa Delta variant,” continued
Go.

“Dapat nating balansehin ang buhay at kabuhayan ng mga Pilipino.
Pag-aralan natin nang mabuti ang pagbibigay ng insentibo sa mga
bakunado, tulad na lang ng mas maluwag na mga patakaran. Maaaring
pwede sila kumain at pumasyal sa labas, makapagtrabaho at makagalaw
nang walang masyadong restrictions para ma-engganyo at tumaas ang
vaccine confidence at unti-unting mabuhay ulit ang ekonomiya,” he
explained.

“Napansin ko rin sa last (National Basketball Association) finals …
nakakapanood na rin sila at ipinapakita nila is ‘yung proof na
bakunado na sila. Nakakatuwa pong tingnan at sana ay hindi na tayo
nalalayo sa ganoong sitwasyon,” he added.

The Senator, however, cautioned that any easing of restrictions should
be gradual so as not to compromise the whole COVID-19 response
efforts. He emphasized that while the government needs to “strike a
balance between health and economy” in order to improve the quality of
life of Filipinos, its primary responsibility is still to safeguard
lives and health.

“Unahin pa rin natin ang buhay ng bawat tao, ng bawat Pilipino. Ang
perang kikitain ay hindi nabibili ang buhay. Dahan-dahan nating gawin
ito. Huwag nating biglang buksan kaagad (at) baka naman tumaas ang
bilang ng mga kaso at mahihirapan na naman ang ating healthcare
system,” he appealed.

Go stated that his recommendation is in line with the proposal of the
mayors in Metro Manila to relax some of the COVID-19 guidelines for
fully vaccinated individuals. He recalled that the country’s economic
managers, including National Economic and Development Authority
Secretary Karl Chua, had likewise expressed their support for the
granting of the incentives.

“Kahit naman ang ating mga adviser sa business, pinag-aaralan na ‘yung
vaccine bubble kung sino ‘yung mga bakunado ay mas maluwang ang
restrictions sa kanila para naman bumalik na ang sigla ng ating
ekonomiya,” said Go.

“Kung ma-relax natin ng konti ang mga travel restrictions at ibang
protocols para sa bakunado na, inaasahan natin na mas maraming sektor
ng ekonomiya ang mabubuksan. Mas maraming mga kababayan natin ang
makapaghanapbuhay muli at makabalik sa kani-kanilang mga trabaho. Ibig
sabihin, mas marami na pong makakabangon na mula sa hirap na dulot ng
pandemya,” he emphasized.

The Senator warned that the incentives should not be used to
discriminate against unvaccinated individuals. Following President
Rodrigo Duterte’s announcement to open up the vaccination program to
the general population in October, Go encouraged the public to get
their shots in order to decrease their risk of infection and
developing severe illness from COVID-19.

“Gusto ko pong manawagan sa ating mga kababayan, inaprubahan na ng
Pangulo ang pagbabakuna sa general population sa Oktubre, kaya
inaanyayahan ko ang mga hindi pa bakunado na magpabakuna na. Wala
naman pong ibang susi o solusyon ngayon para unti-unti tayong
makabalik sa normal na pamumuhay kundi ang bakuna,” said Go.

“Malaking tulong ang mga bakuna kaya ‘wag kayo matakot at magpabakuna
na kayo. Mas maraming bakunado, mas ligtas ang ating mga pamilya at
komunidad. Kung mahal ninyo ang inyong mga pamilya at inyong mga anak,
magpabakuna na kayo,” he ended. (ai/mtvn)

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