Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) should strictly prohibit the holding of street parades, processions, and other forms of mass gatherings while the Philippines is still battling the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gatchalian made the call after the OCTA Research team noted a clear upward trend of COVID-19 cases following an increase in social gatherings during the holiday season.
“Hindi pa tapos ang laban natin sa COVID-19. Dapat mahigpit na huwag payagan ng IATF ang lahat ng (Our fight against COVID-19 is not over. The IATF should strictly prohibit all): 1. Fiesta 2. Prosesyon 3. Street parades 4. Mass gatherings 5. Mass celebrations,” Gatchalian said in a Twitter post.
Dapat i-ban na kaagad (These should be banned immediately),” he stressed.
OCTA Research warned the government of the possibility of a significant surge in COVID-19 cases as it is likely that the new and more infectious COVID-19 variant may already be in the Philippines.
According to the study, “super spreader” events, like the Black Nazarene procession, may contribute to an increase in COVID-19 cases.
In a Laging Handa press briefing, Gatchalian said it is understandable that the Philippine government will technically have difficulties in the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines as only 30 million doses of these vaccines have been distributed globally.
But Gatchalian said he supports other senators call for the national task force to allow local government units (LGUs) to enter into contracts with vaccine suppliers to help expedite the rollout of the inoculation program.
“I understand our problem with the supply. But the government has to make sure that the vaccines the efficacy of the vaccines they will procure are as effective as that of other vaccines that have higher efficacy,” he said.
“We want the best for our countrymen,” Gatchalian stressed.