Ten additional cities that are currently experiencing surges in COVID-19 cases were added to the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus Eight areas in the national government’s vaccination priority.
Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque Jr. announced in a press briefing today, June 24, 2021, the inclusion of the following cities in the vaccination priority: Bacolod City, Iloilo City, Cagayan de Oro City, Baguio City, Zamboanga City, Dumaguete City, Tuguegarao City, General Santos City, Naga City, and Legazpi City.
“Ang naging basehan ay ang tumataas nilang mga kaso or surging cases, ang kanilang pagiging highly urbanized at dense environment, at kanilang kontribusyon sa regional or national economy,” said Secretary Roque.
The Palace spokesperson added that the current policy to prioritize for vaccination the NCR and the original plus eight provinces, and now including the plus 10 cities, is part of the government’s strategy to contain COVID-19 and achieve population protection.
“Hindi po natin sinasabi na less important yung ibang mga lugar, kaya lang importante po talaga para makamit ang containment sa buong Pilipinas, na macontain natin kung saan talaga matataas ang kaso ng COVID to begin with,” explained Sec. Roque.
Reverend Father Nicanor Austriaco, lead investigator for the University of Santo Tomas-CoVAX Vaccine Awareness Team underscored in the said press briefing the importance of the NCR plus eight exit strategy using vaccines. Father Austriaco said that vaccinating the NCR plus eight, and now also including the plus 10 cities, will protect other provinces and help contain the disease and help achieve population protection.
As vaccination is also part of the strategy to protect Filipinos from the more transmissible variants of COVID-19, like the Delta variant, the Palace spokesperson emphasized that the government is doing all the necessary actions to prevent the entry of the said variant of concern in the country.
“Pinapaigting natin ang ating kampanya na mag-mask, hugas, iwas. Pinapalakas natin ang ating contact tracing. Pinaparami natin ang ating healthcare capacity. Pero siyempre po sa huli, panawagan na magtulungan tayo, magkaisa, dahil ibang klase po itong bagong kalaban natin na Delta at Delta plus variants,” Roque said.
Roque also announced in the said press briefing the arrival of two million doses of Sinovac vaccines earlier today. Citing data from the National COVID-19 Vaccination Operations Center, Roque said that as of June 22, 2021, a total of 8,928,249 vaccine doses have been administered in the country.
“Noong Martes nga po, June 22, nasa 336,843 total doses ng COVID-19 vaccines ang ating na-administer. Kaya inaasahan na maabot natin ang 500,000 daily vaccination rate natin na target,” Roque remarked.
Sec. Roque also mentioned that according to the National Task Force Against COVID-19, there are now more than 16 million doses of vaccines that have arrived in the country as of June 24, 2021, including the 2 million Sinovac doses that arrived today.
On another matter, the Palace commiserates and condoles with the family and loved ones of former President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III, who passed away today. Reading the official Palace statement, Sec. Roque said, “We are grateful to the former President for his contribution and services to the country, and we ask our people to offer a prayer for the eternal repose of the former Chief Executive.” ### OPS-PCOO