DUE to the recent spike in Covid cases and the emergence of new strains approaching the first year of the pandemic lockdown in the country, Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on Monday called on the authorities to prioritize front-liners informal economy workers among those who should get the vaccine.
“We cannot afford a new economic plunge with the surge in Covid cases, whether old or new strain. Kailangang kasama sa front-liners na tatanggap ng bakuna ang mga nag-sasari-sari store at Grab drivers, drayber at pahinante, nag-fi-fishball at street vendors, magsasaka at mangingisda. Unahin ang gulugod ng ekonomiya,” said Pangilinan.
“Marami sa ating kababayan ang nag-survive ngayong pandemya dahil sa kanila at dahil sa maliliit na pagkakakitaan tulad ng mga nasa informal sector,” he added.
Pangilinan also reiterated the need for a clear, systematic, and massive testing, tracing, and isolation to complement the vaccine roll-out, expressing alarm at the rise in the number of Covid cases.
“The surge in Covid cases is alarming dahil mag-iisang taon na ang lockdown. Ang mga ordinaryong tao, alam na ang gagawin nila: maghugas ng kamay, magphysical distancing, mag-face mask/shield/alcohol. Pero yung pinapatupad ng mga nasa kapangyarihan wala pa ring maayos, sistematiko, at massive na testing, tracing at isolation. Vaccine rollout na tayo pero kailangan pa rin yang mga yan,” he said.
“We know the drill sa ating mga kababayan, stay home unless very important. Strictly follow the health protocols for yourself and your family. If need to go out, limit the exposure and keep protected with strict implementation of health protocols. Sa pamahalaan, parang wala pang drill,” he added.
Pangilinan said Republic Act 11525 or the Covid-19 Vaccination Program Act passed by Congress lists the hierarchy on the priority list for those who need to get vaccinated: healthcare workers, senior citizens, people with co-morbidities, frontline personnel including uniformed personnel and teachers, and indigent population.
“Kasama ang mga informal workers na unahin among those classified as indigent,” he said.
The Philippines has logged 594,412 Covid cases after a reported 3,276 cases yesterday, March 7. This is the third straight day the country has reported over 3,000 COVID cases in a day.