Let us celebrate the holidays safely and responsibly

Published December 27, 2021, 12:05 AM

by Manila Mayor Isko Moreno


Manila Mayor Isko Moreno

As the year draws to a close, I thank the management and editors of the Manila Bulletin for the opportunity to be a part of this prestigious newspaper, on this my 100th column.

In a few days, we will be ushering another new year and I hope we all do it in a responsible and safe manner or else, all the gains we have achieved so far will just go to waste if we throw caution to the wind.

We all worked so hard to be able to have a merrier Christmas than what we had last year.

From our end, we in the city government doubled our efforts in vaccinating as many as possible in so short a time. The citizenry, on the other hand, did its part by getting the jabs too.

Come rain or shine, our vaccinating teams continued administering shots, even braving floodwaters, just like what the vaccinees did. They worked even on weekends and holidays and even on extended periods of time, or for as long as 14 hours a day.

I really take my hats off to all of them, specially those who selflessly and aggressively carried out the mass vaccination program of the city, under the direct supervision of Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna who is in charge of the city’s health cluster and Manila Health Department chief Dr. Arnold Pangan.

I also highly commend the residents of Manila for heeding our repeated calls for them to get vaccinated in order to protect themselves and their loved ones, at least from getting severe once infected.

We are now reaping the fruits of our labor, of all the sacrifices we made. The city of Manila, modesty aside, was able to achieve its target population of 70 percent in terms of vaccinated residents, much earlier than expected.

In fact, as of this writing, we have long gone beyond 100 percent, based on the eligible population count of the Commission on Elections and the Department of Health.

In celebrating the New Year, I am appealing to one and all to continue being extra cautious and practicing discipline and utmost responsibility, taking care not to expose one’s self to the possibilities of getting infected or spending the first days of the  new year in the hospital.

The Omicron variant continues to be a threat hovering over our heads and although the city of Manila is prepared for it, we still do not want a surge or anyone bringing infection into their own homes.

I repeat, all of our efforts to be where we are right now with regard to the COVID situation in the city, will just go down the drain if we will behave as if we are already immune to the coronavirus.

May I remind that the vaccines do not provide immunity.  They only give us protection from landing in severe or critical condition once we get infected.

Thank God, for nearly three weeks now, the number of active, confirmed COVID-19 cases in the city of Manila remained below 100, with no deaths even reported in certain days.

Clearly, the continuing decline in the number of active, confirmed COVID cases in the city can be attributed to the swiftness of past actions that we in the city government had undertaken, so as  to arrest the growth of mass transmission, particularly at the height of the pandemic.

I am truly hoping that once the holidays are over, our quarantine facilities will remain “patient-less” and that the COVID bed occupancy rate in our city hospitals will continue to decline as they have these past recent months.

We are keeping our quarantine facilities and hospitals ready in case many go reckless and end up getting infected during the holidays,  when some will surely hold gatherings, no matter how the government advises against it.

Too, our RT-PCR tests or swab tests, which continue to be costly when taken in private clinics and hospitals, will  remain free of charge up to next year, both to Manilans and  non-Manilans alike.

With the threat of Omicron and other possible mutations still around and due to the holidays, there is indeed, a great need to continue providing the public with free swab tests, which is a basic  step to address COVID-19 cases.

While we acknowledge that the number of active, confirmed cases in Manila continue to decline steadily, COVID very much remains in our midst and thus there is still a need to observe minimum health protocols.

Let us thank God for allowing us to be still around to welcome yet another year.  Again, I call on one and all to celebrate the holidays safely and responsibly.  Merrry Christmas everybody and Happy New Year!!!


Gaya ng paulit-ulit  kong sinasabi, kailangan ko ang tulong ninyong lahat. Walang magmamalasakit sa Maynila kundi tayo ding mga Batang Maynila. Manila, God first!                                                                 


For updates on latest developments in the city of Manila, please visit my Facebook account— ‘Isko Moreno Domagoso.’