CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar on Thursday called on political leaders and the public to refrain from painting malicious political influences on the government’s COVID-19 response.
He instead enjoined them to help in uplifting the lives of Filipinos, while the country continues to take action on curbing the spread of the virus and awaiting the roll out of the vaccine.
“Dili man gud maayo nga istoryahan ning politika karun. Ang istoryahan ug i-focus nato ang vaccination campaign [It’s not good to talk about politics right now. The focus of our discussions should be on the vaccination campaign],” he said.
He cited that encouraging 70% of the Filipino population to get vaccinated should be the priority to attain herd immunity, and for the country to be able to get back to having a strong economy.
“An economy can only be strong if you have a healthy population, a healthy workforce. [Only] then can we go back to our vision of having a comfortable life for every Filipino,” he said.
While waiting for the vaccine, the PCOO chief stressed the need to address the current 47% vaccine hesitancy among Filipinos through intensified information drive on its safety and efficacy.
Secretary Andanar emphasized the need for partnership between the government and the media to increase the willingness of the public to get inoculated.
The PCOO and its attached agency, the Philippine Information Agency (PIA), is set to conduct another leg of Explain, Explain, Explain town hall meeting with local government units in Region 13 on February 9-11, 2021, covering the provinces of Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte, and Surigao del Sur.
Secretary Andanar mentioned that this will go on with other regions as well in the coming months.
The activity aims to apprise local government officials about National COVID-19 Vaccine road map, likewise capacitate them to cascade the accurate information to their constituents.
He also extended his gratitude for those Filipinos who continue to support the administration.
“Salamat kaayo sa inyong padayun nga pagsuporta kay Presidente Duterte. Let us remember that the vaccine is already almost in our midst. Hulat-hulat lang ta. Sunod ta sa health protocols [Thank you very much for the continued support you have shown for President Duterte. Let us remember that the vaccine is almost in our midst. Let’s continue to follow the health protocols, while we wait for it],” he said.
He noted that specific details will be provided through the National Task Force against COVID-19 (NTF-COVID-19) and the Department of Health (DOH) on the vaccines that will be used for the immunization program.