Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go, chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, urged the public not to be complacent against COVID-19 and advised everyone to remain vigilant despite recent developments on COVID-19 vaccine trials around the world.
Go said that prevention is still better than cure and the crucial fight against the virus starts at home and in communities.
“Sa kabila po ng mga balita na magkakaroon ng bakuna laban sa COVID-19, huwag po sana tayong maging kampante. Huwag po tayo magkumpiyansa (Despite the news that the vaccine against COVID-19 is forthcoming, let’s not be complacent). Let us remain vigilant since the fight is far from over. Let me remind everyone that your compliance with minimum health standards can save lives,” he stressed.
He emphasized the need to be responsible citizens to help communities overcome the crisis.
In a press conference Tuesday, World Health Organization Western Pacific regional director Dr. Takeshi Kasai expressed optimism about the speed in the development of COVID-19 vaccine but said he remains cautious because “even if they can really manage, develop safe and effective vaccine, the production capacity would not really meet the demand coming from the entire world.”
As the first country to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, Russia offered to supply the Philippines with the vaccine.
President Duterte reminded Filipinos to continue complying with health protocols, such as physical distancing, wearing of mask and face shields, and proper cough etiquette, despite recent news about vaccine availability.
Go echoed the sentiments of the President and emphasized the importance of enhancing and properly implementing health protocols in communities to prevent the further spread of the virus while a vaccine is being developed.
“The important part of our fight against COVID-19 starts in us, in our homes, and in our communities. Through our cooperation, malasakit sa kapwa, and bayanihan (concern for our fellowmen and helping each other), we can contribute to the global fight against COVID-19,” he said.
Once a vaccine is made available, Go said that the government must ensure that the poor, 4Ps beneficiaries, and vulnerable sectors would be given access and prioritized.
He also urged government to prioritize the provision of free face masks to poor and vulnerable sectors who cannot afford to buy their own to enable them to comply with the stricter mask-wearing policy.
Aside from his steadfast reminders to Filipinos to continue following health protocols, Go also sought to ensure that government services remain operational and accessible despite the pandemic.
Meanwhile, Go has filed a measure institutionalizing the transition of the government to the digital age through e-governance amid the current challenges caused by the pandemic.
Senate Bill (SB) 1738, or the E-Governance Act of 2020, mandates the government to establish an integrated, interconnected, and interoperable information and resource-sharing and communications network spanning the entirety of the national and local government, an internal records management information system, an information database, and digital portals for the delivery of public services.