Bong Go co-sponsors measure creating Vaccine and Health Passport Program

Senator Bong Go

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go co-sponsored Senate Bill No. 2422 which will create the Vaccine and Health Passport Program and thereby strengthen efforts of the government to keep track of all individuals who are vaccinated against COVID-19.

In a speech delivered at the Senate session, Go highlighted the importance of the vaccine passports as an important tool to facilitate the safe movement of individuals, particularly overseas Filipino workers, within the country and across its borders without risking a new wave of infections.

“Importante ito para magkaroon tayo ng uniform proof of vaccination. Mahalaga rin ito sa mga OFWs na kailangang magpakita ng proof of vaccination sa kanilang mga destinasyon. Kailangan lang siguraduhin na acceptable ito na pruweba kung saan man sila magpunta,” said Go.

“In fact, sa mga seafarers nga ay dapat bigyan sila ng priority ‘yung mga one dose na bakuna (para) hindi na sila pabalik-balik at maghintay ng mahabang panahon bago sila makapagtrabaho muli,” he added.

As Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Go had previously appealed to the Inter-Agency Task Force to consider the requirements needed by Filipino workers to resume their work abroad, such as allocation of vaccines that are acceptable in their countries of destination, as well as the necessary documentation to prove that they have been vaccinated.

Meanwhile, as Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Go also urged concerned authorities to come up with innovative ways to incentivize fully vaccinated Filipinos to improve vaccine confidence and help the country achieve population protection leading to herd immunity at the soonest possible time in order to reopen the economy.

“Nakakatuwa naman ngayon, sa kakaikot ko mahigit 50% na ‘yung nagtataas ng kamay at talaga na rin pong gusto nilang magpabakuna matapos na tumaas ‘yung kaso dahil na rin sa Delta variant,” continued Go.

“Dapat nating balansehin ang buhay at kabuhayan ng mga Pilipino. Pag-aralan natin nang mabuti ang pagbibigay ng insentibo sa mga bakunado, tulad na lang ng mas maluwag na mga patakaran. Maaaring pwede sila kumain at pumasyal sa labas, makapagtrabaho at makagalaw nang walang masyadong restrictions para ma-engganyo at tumaas ang vaccine confidence at unti-unting mabuhay ulit ang ekonomiya,” he explained.

“Napansin ko rin sa last (National Basketball Association) finals … nakakapanood na rin sila at ipinapakita nila is ‘yung proof na bakunado na sila. Nakakatuwa pong tingnan at sana ay hindi na tayo nalalayo sa ganoong sitwasyon,” he added.

The Senator, however, cautioned that any easing of restrictions should be gradual so as not to compromise the whole COVID-19 response efforts. He emphasized that while the government needs to “strike a balance between health and economy” in order to improve the quality of life of Filipinos, its primary responsibility is still to safeguard lives and health.

“Unahin pa rin natin ang buhay ng bawat tao, ng bawat Pilipino. Ang perang kikitain ay hindi nabibili ang buhay. Dahan-dahan nating gawin ito. Huwag nating biglang buksan kaagad (at) baka naman tumaas ang bilang ng mga kaso at mahihirapan na naman ang ating healthcare system,” he appealed.

Go stated that his recommendation is in line with the proposal of the mayors in Metro Manila to relax some of the COVID-19 guidelines for fully vaccinated individuals. He recalled that the country’s economic managers, including National Economic and Development Authority Secretary Karl Chua, had likewise expressed their support for the granting of the incentives.

“Kahit naman ang ating mga adviser sa business, pinag-aaralan na ‘yung vaccine bubble kung sino ‘yung mga bakunado ay mas maluwang ang restrictions sa kanila para naman bumalik na ang sigla ng ating ekonomiya,” said Go.

“Kung ma-relax natin ng konti ang mga travel restrictions at ibang protocols para sa bakunado na, inaasahan natin na mas maraming sektor ng ekonomiya ang mabubuksan. Mas maraming mga kababayan natin ang makapaghanapbuhay muli at makabalik sa kani-kanilang mga trabaho. Ibig sabihin, mas marami na pong makakabangon na mula sa hirap na dulot ng pandemya,” he emphasized.

Go warned that the incentives should not be used to discriminate against unvaccinated individuals. Following President Rodrigo Duterte’s announcement to open up the vaccination program to the general population in October, Go encouraged the public to get their shots in order to decrease their risk of infection and developing severe illness from COVID-19.

“Gusto ko pong manawagan sa ating mga kababayan, inaprubahan na ng Pangulo ang pagbabakuna sa general population sa Oktubre, kaya inaanyayahan ko ang mga hindi pa bakunado na magpabakuna na. Wala naman pong ibang susi o solusyon ngayon para unti-unti tayong makabalik sa normal na pamumuhay kundi ang bakuna,” said Go.

“Malaking tulong ang mga bakuna kaya ‘wag kayo matakot at magpabakuna na kayo. Mas maraming bakunado, mas ligtas ang ating mga pamilya at komunidad. Kung mahal ninyo ang inyong mga pamilya at inyong mga anak, magpabakuna na kayo,” he ended.

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Credit belongs to : www.tribune.net.ph

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