With the vaccines for COVID-19 already available and in fact being rolled out in some countries, we in the city government are inviting all the residents of Manila to register for the free vaccination we intend to implement once the vaccines reach us.
Since we launched the registration about a week ago via www.manilacovid19vaccine.com and invited the citizens of Manila to register, more than 55,000 have already heeded our call as of this writing.
Through an ordinance earlier passed by the Manila City Council headed by Vice Mayor and Presiding Officer Honey Lacuna and Majority floorleader Joel Chua, we were able to allot initially P200 million which we now raised to P250 million, for the purchase of the vaccines. This would be on top of the vaccine allotment by the national government for the city of Manila and modesty aside, we are ready to increase the allocation to up to P1 billion if opportunity allows.
Since the health of the city’s populace is our foremost concern, we ask for the indulgence and patience of residents if they do experience potholes on the streets.
We in the city government have decided to cancel certain infrastructure projects and instead had the budget realigned for the city government’s COVID vaccination program which is part of our working plan for the next six months. There is this need to sacrifice major infra projects to be able to respond to the primary needs of our citizens.
Our gratitude goes to President Rodrigo Duterte and National Action Plan vs COVID-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr. for all the support that Manila had been getting in the fight against COVID-19.
We also thank and laud the President for having issued last December 1 Executive Order 121 which authorizes the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue emergency use authorization (EUA) to expected coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) drugs and vaccines that will be made available in the Philippines.
Following talks with Pfizer and AstraZeneca that began as early as July last year, we were able to enter into a non-disclosure agreement and succeeded in securing an initial 400,000 doses of vaccines, enough to cover 200,000 residents.
As per guidance from the World Health Organization and the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF), medical frontliners will be prioritized in the vaccine rollout, to be followed by senior citizens and finally, the general population of Manila.
I am happy to announce that along with Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna and the Manila Health Department under Dr. Poks Pangan, among others, we have held meetings to polish the plans for the vaccination processes while completely following the mandated protocols.
In urging Manilans to register for free vaccination slots, such will be on a voluntary basis only. All processes and vaccines that will be used will be in accordance with what is mandated by the regulatory agencies of the national government.
While the vaccine is still on the way, free swab and serology testing will continue to be given in the various designated centers in the city. Thus, we urge those who feel they have been exposed to a virus carrier, are experiencing symptoms, or merely want to have peace of mind to take advantage of the COVID-19 tests being given by the city government free of charge.
There is nothing to lose in submitting to these free COVID tests, for one’s very own safety and and those of their loved ones. Besides, certificates will be issued and these can be used by those who are returning to work and are being required to present a certificate stating that they have been swabbed and are found to be negative for COVID-19.
Under the process, the person tested will have to stay at the quarantine facility while awaiting the result which is released within 24 hours. The facility, by the way, is equipped with airconditioning units, wifi and we even serve free food.
We have 14 quarantine facilities in the city that are fully functional and ready to accept those who wish to get tested. Early detection is key to better chances at recovery and preventing community transmission.
In the meantime, I am reiterating my previous and oft-repeated appeal to all my fellow Manilans to continue being alert and practicing minimum health protocols. And do register to get a slot in the upcoming vaccination.
I don’t mind sounding like a broken record but let me stress, once again, that COVID-19 is still in our midst and in fact continues to claim precious lives.
Gaya ng paulit-ulit kong sinasabi, kailangan ko ang tulong ninyong lahat. Walang magmamalasakit sa Maynila kundi tayo ding mga Batang Maynila. Manila, God first!
For updates on latest developments in the city of Manila, please visit my Facebook account— ‘Isko Moreno Domagoso.’