Año, Galvez support proposal to delay 4Ps subsidy for unvaccinated beneficiaries

Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 09 2021 05:16 AM | Updated as of Nov 09 2021 01:17 PM

MANILA — Interior Sec. Eduardo Año and vaccine czar Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr. continued to push for the proposal to delay the release of subsidies to beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps, who are unvaccinated against COVID-19.

That’s despite Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra’s opinion that government shold not suspend or terminate conditional cash transfer benefits based on a beneficiary’s COVID vaccination status.

"Of course, sa batas ng 4Ps wala sa requirement ‘yan. But then kami nagpo-propose kami baka pwede through a form of EO or through the policy, may national advisory council ‘yung 4Ps law, baka pwedeng ma-i-consider," Año said.

"We need to protect these people. Out of the 4.4 million beneficiaries, only 12% are vaccinated. Marami diyan gusto magpabakuna, siguro hindi lang nila alam kung paano at saan. Ito para na rin sa nagbibigay ng 4Ps, isama na rin natin sana sa pagbibigay ng 4Ps, availability ng vaccine sa mga site, para ‘yung gustong magpabakuna, right then and there mabakunahan sila.

"Proposal namin ‘yan, we will push for that."

Galvez said: "May isang LGU na sinabi niya sa mga tao, 'Sige, ‘pag hindi kayo nagpa-vaccine, hindi namin kayo bibigyan ng ayuda.' Dumagsa ang tao, andaming nagpabakuna. Sa kanyang city, almost 90%, 97%. Nauuna siya sa ibang mga city." 

"Sa mga calamities, yung forced evacuation, minamandato natin na umalis ‘yung mga tao sa risk area. Ganoon din ‘yun. Nakita natin nasa risk area itong mga tumatanggap ng 4Ps,” he added.

The government has recalibrated its COVID vaccination target for 2021, lowering its goal to at least 54 million fully vaccinated individuals or just close to half of the country’s total population, from the initial 70% of the population, according to Galvez.

With less than 2 months left before the year ends, the Philippines has fully vaccinated only nearly 29.5 million Filipinos and partially jabbed 34.7 million.

Among the challenges in ramping up COVID vaccinations are the limited cold storage capacity in some LGUs and inadequate number of vaccinators, officials said.

"In-assess namin ang different capacities ng LGUs at ang aming recalibrated target is 54 million people ang mava-vaccinate before the end of the year," Galvez said.

"Ang specific challnge natin, nakita natin limited ang capacity ng municipality sa pag-handle ng sensitive vaccine… ‘Yun ang medyo nahihirapan sila. So just in time lang na delivery ang ginagawa natin. So it creates some delay."

"Second is kulang yung vaccinator. So ngayon ang Philippine Medical Association, ang Philippine Pediatric Society at ‘yung Philippine College of surgeons and other affiliated medical professions like dentists at pharmacists, they will volunteer at si Sec. Año inutusan niya na talaga ang mga LGU na paspasan ang pagpapabakuna."

The National Task Force against COVID-19 is eyeing to hold a three-day national COVID vaccination drive from November 29 to December 1. Galvez said they will recommend to make these days non-working holidays. November 30 is already a holiday.

"Ire-recommend namin na maging parang executive holiday na ang gagawin lang ng lahat ng tao at lahat ng agencies ay mag-vaccinate lang sa tatlong araw na ‘yun," Galvez said.

"Well prepared naman ang ating national vaccination centers. I-e-expand lang ‘yun. Tutulong din ang Armed Forces, PNP at servicemen. Ang Metro Manila they are trying to volunteer na magbakuna dito sa Region 4A."

Local chief executives, during their meeting with NTF officials last Friday, have committed to accelerate their vaccinations, according to Año. 

The DILG plans to recognize local governments that vaccinate fast and issue a show case order against LGUs that will report expired COVID jabs due to slow jabbing rate.

"Noong Friday nagkaroon kami ng pulong sa governors and mayors…. Nakuha natin ang commitment ng governors at mayors para i-double time nila ang pag-vaccinate," he said.

"'Yun kasing LGU natin noong konti pa ang vaccine, nasanay sila na pakonti konti. Pero ngayon nakita nila sa meeting na ganito karami, tapos magkakaroon ng kompetisyon yan. Bibigyan din natin ng recognition ‘yung mabilis mag-inoculate. ‘Yung mababagal at magsasayang, bibigyan din natin ng show cause ‘yan. Kaya kailangan talaga dito ay magsumikapa ng LGUs and we will provide all the support. PNP, BFP, BJMP, AFP, PCG, lahat ng kailangan nila ibibigay natin para lang bumilis."
 

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