In President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s regular weekly Talk-to-the People Address, the Chief Executive reiterated his desire to have all indigents, including informal settlers and the urban poor to be vaccinated as soon as possible to protect them from getting COVID-19.
“Ang emphasis ng Presidente sa mula’t-mula uunahin natin ang mahihirap pagdating dun sa pagbabakuna, pero ngayon nga po itong utos ni Presidente incorporated at kabahagi pa rin po ng National Vaccination Deployment Plan natin,” said Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque Jr in a press briefing on March 16, 2021.
The Palace official added, “Simula’t-simula ay kasama na sa priority list po ng ating National Vaccination Deployment Plan ang mga nasa 4Ps or mga nasa Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program kung saan kasama ang mahihirap o indigents.”
Secretary Roque underscored that the first priority remains the medical frontliners, followed by indigent seniors, which would include senior citizens living in informal settlements or communities, then all other senior citizens, followed by uniformed officers, and then the other indigents and economic frontliners.
The concurrent Inter-Agency Task Force spokesperson said that as soon as the bulk of the country’s order of vaccines arrive by second and third quarter then more people can be vaccinated including the indigent citizens.
“Yung mga lokal na pamahalaan may listahan sila ng mga 4Ps beneficiaries at ito po yung mga sinasabi ninyo nakatira sa ilalim ng tulay, ito po yung mga pinakamahirap sa lahat ng ating mahihirap. Kasama po sila sa listahan at kasama po sila sa A priority na tinatawag,” said Sec. Roque.
Aside from prioritizing the vaccination of the poor, President Duterte once again directed his Cabinet officials to provide free face masks for all.
“Kung inyo pong matatandaan, hindi ito ang unang pagkakataon na ginawa ito ng Presidente. Patunay ito na ang pagsusuot ng face mask, kasama na ang face shield ay mabisang sandata laban sa pagkalat ng COVID-19,” Roque remarked.
The President’s spokesperson also addressed the issue on PRRD’s remark that some sectors took as undermining the pandemic’s effect on Filipinos. “Ang sinasabi po ng Presidente ay patuloy naman po ang Pilipinas ay nabubuhay sa kabila ng COVID-19. … Hindi po minamaliit ng ating Presidente ang ating paghihirap, pero ang sinasabi po nya eh babangon naman po tayo dyan, we will heal as one,” Roque said.
Roque added, “Sabi nga ni Presidente, and I quote, “Huwag kayong matakot, di ko kayo iiwan.”’
In the same press briefing, National Task Force Against COVID-19 Chief Implementer and Vaccine Czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr said that he was able to secure 30 million doses of Novavax from his last week’s trip to India. Secretary Galvez said that he already signed a supply agreement with the Serum Institute of India for the supply of 30 million doses of Novavax to the Philippines.
Galvez also reported that 1.4 million doses of the Sinovac vaccine is expected to arrive this month of March, plus the second tranche of some 900,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines from the COVAX facility, which may also arrive in March or April. ### OPS-PCOO