Parañaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez said on Tuesday the construction of a mega vaccination facility in Nayong Pilipino would be favorable not only for his city, but for the entire National Capital Region (NCR) as well.
Olivarez said the mega vaccination facility will help the country achieve its target herd immunity before December.
“Yun pong lugar na ‘yun, meron na tayong isolation facility po doon. Ang nag ma-manage po diyan ay yung ating DOH (Department of Health) kaya kung malalagyan natin ng vaccination center ‘yan, it would be favorable hindi lang po sa Parañaque, kundi po sa buong NCR (We already have an isolation facility there which is being managed by the DOH that’s why if we will also put up a vaccination center, it would be favorable not only for Parañaque but for the entire NCR),” Olivarez told DZRH News.
The Parañaque mayor added that the vaccine facility can be designed in a way that no ipil-ipil trees will be cut off during its construction.
The Nayong Pilipino Foundation (NPF) had earlier raised environmental, health, and legal concerns with the construction of the facility.
In a statement last May 6, the NPF said it must get the assurance that the building of the vaccination facility will not “pose risks to patients and staff operating the quarantine facility.” A 525-bed capacity quarantine facility was opened at Bagong Nayong Pilipino on September 29, 2020.
“A mega-vaccination center close onsite, next to the quarantine facility, may pose a health risk on both healthy individuals securing their vaccines. A careful study of the design and ventilation systems for both are necessary to ensure there is no cross-contamination to take place,” it added.
The NPF said it is also studying “legal issues” concerning the construction of the facility.
Lawyer Lucille Karen Malilong-Isberto, who recently resigned from her post as NPF executive director, also said the land where the vaccination facility will be erected has “no septage or sewerage system, no water or electricity connection, no toilets.”
“Why would that be the ideal site for vaccination?” she told the Manila Bulletin.
The lawyer also underscored that the land is within the buffer zone of Las Piñas–Parañaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area (LPPCHEA). which is an “internationally protected Ramsar site.”
“Environmental considerations apply,” she said.
Ramsar sites are “wetlands considered to be of international importance,” according to Biodeverist A-Z.
The National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 Chief Implementer and Vaccine Czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said the environmental concerns raised by the NPF board will be addressed.
Galvez added that the government also “deeply cares for the environment.”
“But as the pandemic wreaks havoc on the lives of our people and our economy, we have to make the choice,” he added.