All workers in the IT-business process management sector are now part of the A4 priority list for COVID-19 vaccination, said Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez.
Lopez said the Inter Agency Task Force (IATF) supported the move following justifications that DTI presented on the importance of BPO in the economy.
Lopez cited the sector’s huge contribution in export revenues, reaching close to $30 billion a year, bigger than OFWs remittances.
Philippines has become biggest BPO player in the world, with around 1.32 million direct employment plus 4 million indirect jobs.
“This is the only sector that did not layoff workers and even continued to hire during this pandemic. This is helping the economy in its recovery efforts, in saving jobs and contributions to dollar revenue generation,” he said.
With its continued operation and performance, Lopez said the IT-BPM sector is helping solidify further the economic fundamentals of the domestic economy and stable credit rating for the country.
“We cannot afford to disrupt its very good momentum especially in this time of pandemic,” said Lopez.
Meantime, amid the short supply of COVID-19 vaccines, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce of the Philippines Inc. (formerly Indian Chamber of Commerce Phils. Inc), has strongly called to focus or “buhos” vaccination efforts in the National Capital Region and surrounding areas (NCR Plus) to achieve an earlier herd immunity for the economic engine of the country.
“We recommend the ‘buhos’ approach where we deploy all available vaccines and resources nationwide both human and other to the NCR + area first to achieve herd immunity faster,” FICCPI said.
Indian businessmen stressed that NCR is the heart of our economy given that 70 percent of all warehouses of goods, both essential and non-essential, are located in NCR+ which then supplies the entire country.
A great majority of head offices of service industries are all in the NCR+ area which in turn provide such services nationwide, the group said.
“Achieving a 70 percent vaccination rate in NCR+, will achieve herd immunity much faster in the area which will in turn allow a faster jump starting of our economy that will inure to the benefit of the entire country,” the statement noted.
Once the NCR Plus already achieved herd immunity, the group said this will ensure that
health facilities are no longer overwhelmed, and healthcare workers are given their much-needed respite from the daily Covid wars they fight in order to save lives.
By pouring all vaccine resources in the NCR Plus, the country is going to achieve national herd immunity faster than spreading vaccines and human resources thinly given limited supply.
“While we focus on saving lives, we must also equally focus on livelihood and ensure our people keep their jobs and their income as we beat COVID 19 together. Many in our provinces depend on their relatives who work in the NCR+ area,” the group said.
The Indian business groups also urged government to issue a standardized vaccination card across the country to open the economy safely.
A standardized Vaccination or Bacuna card will ensure proper control and uniformity in the many uses this card will have moving forward. The group has proposed a central database and QR codes in every establishments. Having too many different cards will cause confusion and undermine the authenticity of such cards and may even allow fake cards to proliferate. Once vaccinated, the group said that those with vaccination or bacuna cards may be allowed to freely move around while following health protocols and for establishments to start serving those with these cards freely and without any restrictions.