Go: Duterte remains focused on maintaining momentum of PH COVID-19 response

Published February 15, 2022, 11:58 AM

by Mario Casayuran

With less than five months left until the end of the President Duterte’s term, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go said the President remains focused on maintaining the forward momentum of the country’s COVID-19 response and laying the groundwork for an inclusive economic recovery in 2022.

Go, chairman of the Senate Health and Demography committee, emphasized that the President is determined to work hard to serve the Filipino people until his final day in office.

He urged voters in the forthcoming May 2022 elections to consider the nation’s best interest by electing leaders who will build on the progress made under the Duterte Administration.

“While many Filipinos have expressed their sadness that President Rodrigo Duterte’s term is coming to an end, such is the democratic process. Everything has to come to an end at some point. That said, I am confident that he has done his best in serving the country and will continue to do so as the country’s leader, the lawmaker from Davao said.

“It is up to the Filipino people to decide who among them can actually carry on the positive initiatives started by the current administration in order to provide a comfortable life for all,” he added.

Go commended the President’s strong leadership, noting that the Department of Health (DOH) recently relegated the status of most parts of the country to either low or moderate risk for COVID-19.

He particularly praised the government’s vaccination efforts. This was partly made possible through an aggressive information campaign that helped bring down vaccine hesitancy levels among adult Filipinos from 33% in May to just 8% in December 2021, according to Social Weather Stations surveys.

Go noted that the vaccines have proven to be safe and effective at reducing one’s risk of getting severely sick or dying of COVID-19.

According to the DOH, low risk areas in the country have an average daily attack rate of less than one per 100,000 people, whereas moderate risk areas have a rate of one to seven.

Meanwhile, total bed occupancy and intensive care unit usage rates in all areas are at low to moderate risk. The national health system’s capacity is in a sound state.

Despite these developments, Go expressed concern over the World Health Organization’s assessment that more than 2.5 million senior citizens in the country have yet to get vaccinated.

He renewed his call to national and local authorities to intensify their efforts to reach eligible members of the priority list, especially the senior citizens who have difficulty going to the vaccination sites, by conducting house-to-house vaccinations.

“Bagama’t hindi mandatory ang vaccination laban sa COVID-19 at hindi pwedeng pilitin ang mga tao, hikayatin pa rin natin ang mga hindi pa bakunado na magpabakuna na upang maiwasan natin ang malubhang sakit o maging kamatayan dahil sa COVID-19 (While the vaccination against COVID-19 is not mandatory and we cannot force the people, we will continue to encourage the unvaccinated to have themselves vaccinated in order for them to avoid getting the severe disease o even death due to COVID-19).. Ipaintindi natin nang mabuti at ilapit na natin sa kanila ang bakuna (We will explain and bring to them the vaccine)” Go recently appealed.

“Iyung mga senior citizens natin hindi nakakalabas at takot mag-travel papunta sa vaccination center. Kaya dapat puntahan ng local government units ‘yung pamamahay ng mga gustong magpabakuna na (Our senior citizens do not go out and they are afraid to travel to the vaccination center. That is why the local government units must go to the houses of those who want to be vaccinated),” he added.

Go likewise encouraged parents to get their children aged 5 to 11 years inoculated as soon as pediatric vaccines are available in their areas.

He reassured that the government rigorously reviewed all available data and consulted with health experts before clearing the use of vaccines for said age group.

“Alam ko na marami ang nag-aalala at concerned sa magiging epekto ng bakuna para sa kanilang mga anak ngunit maniwala tayo sa mga eksperto, doktor at sa siyensya. Napatunayan na na makakatulong itong magbigay ng dagdag proteksyon para sa mga menor de edad (I know that many are apprehensive and concerned with the possible effect of the vaccine to their children but we have to believe the experts, doctors and the science. It has been proven that the vaccine can help in providing additional protection for the minors),” he stressed.

He reiterated his call to the public to continue strictly adhering to the mandated health and safety protocols especially in the weeks ahead of the election.

“As we look to the future, I am sure President Duterte’s legacy and the programs he initiated will continue to have positive impact on the lives of Filipinos well beyond his term. Coupled with his well-calibrated pandemic response and proactive measures that will see a booming Philippine economy post-pandemic, I have no doubt that we are on a path towards a swift and lasting recovery,” he added.