Prioritizing economic recovery means prioritizing workers for COVID-19 vaccine — Villanueva

Published March 2, 2021, 5:21 PM

by Mario Casayuran

Vaccination of workers is the only way for the economy to recover, Senator Joel Villanueva on Tuesday said.

Sen. Joel Villanueva
(Senate of the Philippines / FILE PHOTO)

In a radio interview, Villanueva, chairman of the Senate labor committee, said he moved for the inclusion of workers in the vaccination program’s “priority lane” because he knew that unless workers were given back their jobs, the economy would have a difficult time recovering.

“We believe that we will be able to recover only if our workers are protected,” he explained. “Protected workers equals jobs,” he added.

Government data showed that up to 17 million workers lost their jobs at the height of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from March to April in 2020. 

Villanueva said millions of families suffered economically because of the pandemic.

“This is unacceptable,” he stressed.

Villanueva said there was only one thing needed for the country to get back on its feet: “Work, work, work.”

The vaccination program, according to Villanueva, has been stripped of obstacles in sourcing and procurement of supplies by the law that Congress passed and which President Duterte signed recently.

“We increased the role of local government units (LGUs) and the private sector,” Villanueva said.        

“We are removing all excuses from those fond of excuses,” he added.