Wednesday, June 16, 2021
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HomeNational NewsSen. Bong airs appeal for OFWs, seafarers

Sen. Bong airs appeal for OFWs, seafarers

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BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – Administration ally Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go has appealed to President Duterte and Vaccine Czar Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr., and other officials of the National Vaccination Program to consider the special needs of overseas workers, and seafarers on the acceptability of vaccine brands in countries where these work.

Sen. Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go. | Photo from Bong Go Facebook page.
Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go. | Photo from Bong Go Facebook page.

Go said in a news release some OFWs are worried because there are countries are looking for brand-specific vaccines even if brands widely used in the country have been proven to be safe and effective.

They fear, however, that the brands being used here might not be acceptable in countries where they work.

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We quote the remainder of Sen. Bong Go’s statement in full:

May ilan sa kanila na nag-aalinlangan na magpabakuna rito sa atin dahil may ibang mga bansa na naghahanap ng specific na brand, bagama’t napatunayan na namang ligtas at epektibo ang mga bakunang mayroon tayo. Hindi natin sila makukumbinsing magpabakuna ngayon kung takot silang hindi naman tanggap sa pupuntahan nilang bansa ang brand na ituturok sa kanila dito sa Pilipinas.

Karamihan din sa kanila ay kailangan nang ma-deploy abroad upang hindi mawala ang trabahong naghihintay sa kanila roon. Hindi na sila makakapag-antay pa ng panahon kung kailan magiging compliant na ang anumang brand ng bakuna sa iba’t ibang bansang pupuntahan nila.

Kaya kung maaari, mag-allocate tayo ng bakuna na angkop para sa kanila na tanggap sa kanilang countries of destination. This must be done in compliance with requirements for vaccines coming from COVAX facility, as well as our own vaccine prioritization order.

Inaasahan naman nating may humigit-kumulang na 10 milyong bakuna na darating ngayong Hunyo. Kaya kung ano ‘yung mga brand na angkop sa kondisyon o pangangailangan ng bawat sektor, tulad ng OFWs, ay dapat ma-allocate na nang maayos.

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In the meantime, I am also encouraging our OFWs to support our National Vaccine Rollout—with an assurance that their concerns are being considered. Those belonging in the A1, A2, and A3 categories can already be vaccinated now, while the rest who are part of the A4 category can be vaccinated soon once supplies are sufficient to cater to the bigger population.

Sa ating OFWs, kapag dumami na po ang supply at nailatag na ang mga mekanismo upang maibigay sa inyo ang klase ng bakuna na kailangan ninyo, ipapakita n’yo na lang ang inyong passport at ibang dokumento bilang pruweba na pasok kayo sa ‘OFWs to be deployed immediately’ na nabibilang sa A4 category.

Sang-ayon din naman ako sa unang sinabi ni PRRD na unahin ang mga mahihirap at indigents na nasa A5 category sa dapat makatanggap ng Pfizer. Compliant ito sa COVAX facility guidelines ng priority groups na dapat mabakunahan. But, on top of this, we should also accommodate OFWs needing a certain brand of vaccine for their immediate deployment.

Sa una naming usapan ni Sec. Galvez, sinabi naman niya na pwedeng mag-allocate ng select, appropriate or acceptable brands para sa OFWs. Importante po ito dahil hindi lang kalusugan ang gusto nating proteksyunan, kundi pati rin ang trabaho at kabuhayan ng ating mga kababayan. Kaysa pag-agawan pa ang mga bakuna, tulad ng Pfizer, ibigay na lang natin sa tunay na nangangailangan nito.

Rest assured that as we accelerate the vaccine rollout, this government is taking into consideration the needs of all Filipinos in order to secure your lives as well as your livelihoods.

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Julius D. Mariveles
An amateur cook who has a mean version of humba, the author has recently tried to make mole negra, the Mexican sauce he learned by watching shows of master chef Rick Bayless. A journalist since 19, he has worked in the newsrooms of radio, local papers, and Manila-based news organizations. A stroke survivor, he now serves as executive editor of DNX.

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