SENATOR Christopher “Bong” Go on Friday, January 15, urged the government to learn from past mistakes, implement the national vaccine roadmap properly and ensure the systematic rollout of the vaccines throughout the country.
“As soon as mayroon na tayong safe, sure, and secured vaccines, mahalaga na makakaabot ang mga bakuna sa mga dapat makatanggap. May mga taong hindi alam saan pupunta at ni hindi alam kung ano ang ibig sabihin ng vaccine,” Go said during a Senate hearing on the national vaccine roadmap.
He particularly asked the National Task Force Against COVID-10 “to ensure that we would not encounter similar issues regarding master lists when we implemented the first tranche of the Social Amelioration Program last year.”
Stressing the need to prioritize the poor and vulnerable sector for the vaccine, Go said, “Huwag nating pabayaan ang mga mahihirap, ‘yung mga walang pambili, mga ‘no read no write’. Sila ang kailangan lumabas at magtrabaho upang buhayin ang mga pamilya nila – mga ‘isang kahig, isang tuka’.”
“No Filipino should be left behind in our road towards recovery. Pantay-pantay dapat ang access at hindi lamang ang mga may kaya sa buhay ang dapat makakakuha ng vaccine na ito,” he added.
Nevertheless, Go expressed his trust and support for the government, saying that it is doing its best to secure safe and effective vaccines for the people.
“I understand that the NTF has already formed task groups to handle the vaccination program. Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez, Jr. said that the government is targeting to secure at least 148 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for the country in 2021,” Go pointed out.
As noted by Go, the supply of 148 million, if fully secured, could cover some 70 million Filipinos, assuming two doses are needed per person. The 148-million figure was based on current negotiations with several vaccine companies that the government is in advanced talks with, including Novavax, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Johnson and Johnson, Sinovac, and Gamaleya.
Go also told concerned agencies that the legislative branch is ready to pass any necessary law that can expedite the procurement process for the vaccines.
“We had a provision in the Bayanihan 2 para sa exemption ng procurement ng COVID- 19 goods and medication from the bidding process required under the Government Procurement Reform Act pero nag-expire na po ito last December 19,” Go said.
“Kung may limitation po ang ating mga batas, nandito po kami sa Senado kung kailangang may ipasang batas,” he assured.