What does WWF-Philippines think of Nayong Pilipino as a mega vaccination site?

Published May 17, 2021, 5:51 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)-Philippines doesn’t seem to think that the planned mega vaccination center at the Nayong Pilipino Foundation (NPF)-owned property in Parañaque City is the way to go.

(Photo from WWF Facebook page)

“Other countries have proven that the best vaccination programs are the ones that are decentralized and where there is access to the vaccination areas by everyone,” the environmental conservation group said in a statement Monday, May 17.

“Our country should develop pandemic solutions that will safeguard the well-being of Filipinos which necessarily include protecting existing ecosystems and natural resources,” it added.

While the group made no mention of the Department of Tourism (DOT) and National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 (coronavirus disease)-backed mega vaccination center, it did highlight the importance of the Nayong Pilipino area–particularly in its current, undisturbed state–to the local ecosystem.

“Nayong Pilipino is an area which is in its first natural succession stage with grass and trees – an essential stage in ecological health. It has naturally established its role in the ecology of not just its area but of the adjacent ecologies of the cities it straddles. It will take time again for it to recover and perform its role when disturbed,” WWF-Philippines said.

“With the lack of urban forests in the metropolis, a ‘rewilding’, such as what happened in the area of Nayong Pilipino, is literally a breath of fresh air for all, even if it does not inhabit our mass consciousness,” it further said.

The mega vaccination facility is expected to be able to inoculate 10,000 people daily from COVID-19 once it is up and running. It’s high capacity will make it a vital component of the government’s mass vaccination program.

However, the NPF Board of Trustees has yet to sign the memorandum of agreement that would signal the start of the facility’s construction. The board has cited environmental issues against the planned temporary structure.

“Vaccination sites should be accessible to all – a decentralized vaccine roll-out will help Filipinos rich and poor to be inoculated as soon as possible, with lesser exposure to other individuals,” WWF-Philippines underscored. It contended that the best responses to the pandemic “are community-based and people-centered, as shown by various solutions that have worked well and carried our people through the past 15 months”.

“We can put both people and nature first in the pathways we can pursue out of this pandemic. Our response to this pandemic will also set a precedent for the future development of the country,” the group said.