WITH his decision to name a “vaccine czar,” President Rodrigo Duterte has shown his determination to ensure the effective implementation of the government’s vaccination program against COVID-19.
The appointment of retired Army Gen. Carlito G. Galvez Jr. as “vaccine czar” is ample proof that Duterte really believes in the “integrity, honesty and dedication”of former military and police officials.
Aside from Galvez, there are four other COVID-19 “czars.” They are Bases Conversion and Development Authority chief Vivencio “Vince” Dizon, testing czar; Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark A. Villar, isolation czar; Baguio City Mayor Benjie Magalong, contact tracing czar; and Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega, treatment czar.
In the view of many, the appointment of these five “czars” monuments the Duterte administration’s commitment to address the crippling coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
During last Monday’s Cabinet meeting, the Chief Executive said he even rejected the idea of having a committee in charge of procuring COVID-19 vaccines as it might even lead to further delays.
The tough-talking Duterte was even quoted as saying “ayaw ko ‘yang komite, komite. Matagal ‘yan (and) I have great faith in Charlie (Galvez) to really come up with the solutions for the problem.”
In accepting the position, Galvez said “sa totoo lang po, I feel so nervous dahilalam ko (na) napakalaki ng responsibilidad na nasa aking mga balikat.”
But Galvez, the chief implementer of the country’s “Declared National Policy Against COVID-19,” is set to present today to President Duterte his proposed “Philippine National Vaccine Roadmap.”
Doubtless, the national government, through concerned state offices and agencies, is doing a delicate balancing act between the people’s health and that of the now struggling Philippine economy.
But it is good for the country and the people!