DOT rushes to vaccinate more tourism workers vs COVID-19 during ECQ

Jasmin Romero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 06 2021 04:22 PM

People visit the historic Fort Santiago in Intramuros, Manila on February 17, 2021, the first day of its reopening after being closed due to quarantine restrictions. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
People visit the historic Fort Santiago in Intramuros, Manila on February 17, 2021, the first day of its reopening after being closed due to quarantine restrictions. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The Department of Tourism (DOT) on Friday said it was looking at vaccinating more tourism workers while the National Capital Region and other areas are under lockdown.

"[For] more people to have jobs, kailangan may leisure so kailangan mag-vaccinate… para 'di naman sayang ang oras mag bakuna [tayo] at least first dose... ang mga tourism workers," Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat told ABS-CBN News in a Zoom interview.

(We need leisure to generate more jobs, and vaccination is key. Forus not to waste time we will vaccinate tourism workers at least with a first dose)

“Ang ginagawa na lang natin ngayon... 'yung nagtatrabaho sa quarantine hotels, lahat mapabakunahan na sana by this week or next week,” she added. 

(We will try to vaccinate every tourism worker in quarantine hotels by this week or next week)

Those in the A4 category, or those who are considered economic frontliners, will also be part of the agency's vaccination drive. 

Puyat added that her agency would try to vaccinate most tourism workers in Metro Manila by the end of August.

Aside from tourism workers in the metro, the official said they are also targeting the vaccination of the same in other provinces, most especially in Palawan and Boracay. 

“We hope to be able to vaccinate already 'yung mga tourism workers sa Boracay, 100 percent 'yun ang goal natin (that is our goal)” said Puyat.

“Galing tayo sa Palawan pumunta tayo sa Coron, El Nido, San Vicenta at Puerto Princesa, kasama natin si Sec. Vince Dizon [at] nagsimula na rin tayo magbakuna ng mga tao doon," she added. 

(We went to Coron, El Nido, San Vicenta, and Puerto Princesa in Palawan with Sec. Dizon and we started vaccinating there)

Dizon and vaccination czar Sec. Carlito Galvez, Jr., she pointed out, vowed the continuous distribution of virus jabs in Palawan to vaccinate tourism workers. 

Puyat stressed that immunizing workers against the respiratory disease is important to allow the continuation of tourism, which is usually the hardest hit whenever the government implements stricter quarantine measures.

Citing the agency's survey, the official noted that tourism employees also want to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as part of tourists' preference.

"We want to give jobs back… ang problema kasi pag [enhanced community quarantine] diba, walang leisure (hotels, establishments) so ang bukas lang ang mga quarantine hotel," she said. 

(The problem is when there is ECQ, leisure establishments are shut except for quarantine hotels)

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Apart from vaccinating tourism workers, the official also said they have a tourism and recovery plan for stakeholders, while micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) could avail of a working capital loan with zero collateral, 4 years to pay and 2 years grace period.

Metro Manila is under the ECQ beginning Friday until Aug. 20 to halt the growth of infections most likely driven by the highly contagious COVID-19 Delta variant, which first emerged in India and ripped through the country's health care system.