ASKED about the re-emergence of polio in the country, Senator Bong Go said that the government is prepared to respond to the health concern and remains committed to the strict implementation of the national mandatory immunization program.
He also encouraged citizens to visit health centers to get vaccinated for free.
“Handa naman po ang gobyerno. Sa mga hindi pa po na-vaccinate para sa polio, magsipunta lang kayo sa DOH (health centers) para maiwasan po ang pagkalat at mapigilan itong polio (outbreak) na ito,” said Go.
He added, “Hindi lang po sa polio, maraming mga vaccination program ang gobyerno na libre naman po. Nakikiusap po ako magtiwala po tayo sa ating programa. You may avail (yourself of) it.”
The Department of Health (DOH) earlier assured the public of ample supply of polio vaccines.
The Philippines has been polio-free since 2000, with the last wild polio virus detected in 1993. It takes only one confirmed case of polio for DOH to declare an outbreak.
Aside from polio, concerns on the African swine fever (ASF) surfaced after the Department of Agriculture (DA) started an investigation into incidents of hog deaths in Bulacan and Rizal. The first case of ASF was confirmed on September 9.
Asked about the security measures undertaken to prevent the spread of ASF, Go called for sobriety as the DA has guaranteed the public that the situation is “under proper management”.
“Nakatutok po ngayon ang ating Department of Agriculture. Ayon sa kanila hindi naman daw po delikado,” Go said.
“Tayo ay may meat inspection. ‘Yun po hanapin niyo, kung dumaan sa meat inspection, ‘yun po ang ating kainin. Sundin po natin ang payo ng Department of Agriculture para maiwasan ang pag-spread ng African swine fever,” he added.
The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has so far released P80 million for the implementation of measures to prevent the spread of ASF in the country. On top of this, DA has also made available P60 million for the financial assistance for affected hog raisers at P30,000 per farmer, payable in three years at zero interest.
DA will also be giving P3,000 per live affected pig surrendered for culling and proper disposal. DA has already intensified its efforts by activating and mobilizing its Quick Response Teams at its regional offices to conduct complementary measures, in addition to existing Malasakit desks in DA and its attached agencies, to easily respond to affected stakeholders.
Go is a known public health advocate. As the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Health, the senator filed on July proposed health measures, including the institutionalization of the Malasakit Center program, the improvement of Philippine nursing education, and a bill expanding the coverage of the Mandatory Basic Immunization Program to improve the country’s healthcare system.