IN a bid to build higher vaccine confidence among Filipinos, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go during the Senate committee of the whole hearing on Friday, January 15, called for cooperation and collaboration to resolve issues in acquiring sufficient, safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines.
“Let me emphasize, we are all part of the solution to this public health issue. Therefore, we must (all) share the responsibility if we want to recover from this pandemic,” he said in his manifestation.
He also warned those who take advantage of others in these challenging times that they should be part of the solution instead.
“Wala pong pinipili ang pandemyang ito. Kakaikot ko po, napapansin ko po sa publiko — dapat kunin natin ang kumpiyansa ng taumbayan. Lahat tayo, apektado nito, lalaki man o babae, bata man o matanda, mayaman man o mahirap, anumang relihiyon, anuman ang inyong pulitika, saan ka man sa Pilipinas, talagang tinamaan po tayo sa pandemyang ito,” he added.
“’Yung mga nangsasamantala dyan habang naghihirap na nga ang kapwa nating Pilipino, dapat kayo unang ma-inject,” he warned.
Go emphasized that he is open to introducing measures that would further penalize individuals who spread misinformation and take advantage of the vulnerabilities of Filipinos amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“Kung walang katapusan ang pagdududa, as legislators, why don’t we legislate a law against those who are taking advantage of the situation, especially now that we are in a pandemic,” Go said.
Citing the delicacy of the matter where lives are at stake, Go stressed that individuals who take advantage of fellow Filipinos or spread fear through misinformation must be penalized with the full extent of the law as he renews his push to reimpose the death penalty.
“Ikulong o isama sa death penalty – mauna sila na ma-injection — (through) lethal injection. This is a very delicate subject matter, in fairness to all those working hard, such as Sec. Galvez and Sec. Duque who are working 24/7 and are even willing to vaccinate themselves to allay fears,” Go added.
Go emphasized that “if we do not adhere to health measures to protect each other, if we continue to nitpick and create controversy where there is none, if we do not communicate with all Filipinos our plan, this pandemic will never end.”
“Bukod sa COVID-19, nakakamatay din ang maling balita. Kung gusto talaga natin na magkaroon ng kumpiyansa ang tao sa bakuna, kailangan nilang maintindihan kung ano ito at ano ang plano ng gobyerno ukol dito. Linawin natin ang mga isyu tungkol sa mga binibiling bakuna ng gobyerno,” he added.
The senator also stressed that the lack of public trust in COVID-19 vaccines must be addressed as he emphasized their importance in the country’s path towards recovery.
“Bukod sa COVID-19, mukhang nakakabahala dito ang lantarang pagkawala ng tiwala sa solusyon — which is to provide sufficient, safe, and effective vaccines,” Go said.
Furthermore, he urged authorities to conduct further market research to find out reasons for the seemingly low acceptance of vaccines.
“Napakahalaga ng papel ng bakuna sa ating recovery mula sa kasalukuyang pandemya. Ito po ang magiging susi upang makabalik ang pamumuhay natin sa normal. Kaya naman napakalaking bagay ng vaccine roadmap at tamang implementasyon nito,” he added.
He renewed his calls for the government to strengthen its information awareness campaigns to better inform Filipinos about the benefits of vaccination and the steps being taken towards recovery under the national COVID-19 vaccination roadmap.
“Gayunpaman, sa tingin ko po ay nagkukulang tayo ngayon sa information dissemination campaigns o awareness information plan, hindi lamang para masiguro ang tuluy-tuloy na kooperasyon ng mga Pilipino, kundi para na rin mapanatag sila na hindi natutulog ang kanilang gobyerno upang mabigyan sila ng ligtas at epektibong bakuna laban sa COVID-19,” explained Go.
He also asked concerned government agencies to lay out and explain to the public the processes contained in the roadmap so they could better understand it, allaying their fears and uncertainties.
“Importante po na maintindihan ang ating vaccination plan, lalo na ng priority population. Ilatag na natin sa kanila ngayon pa lang ang buong proseso. Hindi lang naman ito usapin ng pagkakaroon ng bakuna. Kailangang paghandaan din ang storage, logistics, and transportation ng mga bakunang ito,” he added.