Electric coops offer sites for COVID-19 vaccine rollout

Published February 13, 2021, 6:30 AM

by Myrna M. Velasco

The country’s electric cooperatives (ECs) are offering their sites for the government-underpinned Covid-19 inoculation program, which targets to attain herd immunity for the Philippine population against the dreaded virus.

In a statement to the media, the Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Association Inc. (PHILRECA) noted that by utilizing the EC sites, this could help both the national government and the local government units (LGUs) to “ensure proper and orderly rollout of the coronavirus vaccination plans.”

Party-list Representative and House Assistant Minority Leader Sergio Dagooc sounded off the rural power utilities’ readiness in aiding the government on its vaccination undertaking, which is expected to pick up speed in the coming months.

 He recommended the use of the gymnasiums and multi-purpose halls of the 121 electric cooperatives all over the country, with him noting that “this way, more Filipinos, even those living in far-flung and remote communities, will be reached.”

Dagooc similarly stated that the ECs “are ready to coordinate with their respective local government units to assist them in their vaccination plans.”

In the State-spearheaded vaccination undertaking, it has been noted that one tricky part will be the logistics component – including the identification of vaccination sites as well as the provision of sufficient and reliable electricity, especially for vaccines that require special handling and refrigeration at negative Centigrade-levels.

With PHILRECA’s offer, it is deemed that this could redound to “hitting two birds with one stone” in the required Covid-19 vaccination fixes – because they will not just be providing sites, but the electric utilities will also guarantee that the needed power supply will be there.

Dagooc cited a well-known fact that “there are communities still far away from hospitals and government centers; and there are also health centers that suffer from space constraints.”

He noted these predicaments prompted the ECs “to become part of the solution by offering their compound and facilities for speedy, and vast yet with appropriate social distancing protocols, when the vaccination program is administered.”

The Department of Energy (DOE) just recently called on the country’s power companies to lend a helping hand in the country’s inoculation process, because this is the ultimate measure that can finally pull the plug on the spread of the virus.

The department’s plea centers on the provision of “triple safeguard” in electricity service that will be so critically needed once the vaccination program starts.

With that appeal, the ECs have come forward to offer help to the government given the reach of their service areas – especially in jurisdictions that are outside urban sprawls.