SENATOR Christopher “Bong” Go warned the public about being complacent against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and advised everyone to remain vigilant despite recent developments on COVID-19 vaccine trials around the world. Philippine authorities also began relaxing some quarantine protocols, such as the recent shift to general community quarantine of many areas in the country, including Metro Manila.
According to the senator, prevention is still better than cure and the crucial fight against the virus starts in efforts at home and in communities.
“Sa kabila po ng mga balita na magkakaroon ng bakuna laban sa COVID-19, huwag po sana tayong maging kampante. Huwag po tayo magkumpyansa. Let us remain vigilant since the fight is far from over. Let me r emind everyone that your compliance with minimum health standards can save lives,” Go said emphasizing the need to be responsible citizens to help communities overcome the crisis.
“Ang laban po natin sa COVID-19 ay nag-uumpisa sa ating mga tahanan at komunidad. Ang pagsunod natin sa patakaran, pag-alaga sa ating kalusugan, pagsuot ng face mask at pag-obserba ng social distancing ay mga simpleng paraan upang makatulong sa bayan na malampasan ang krisis na ito,” he added.
In a press conference on Tuesday, World Health Organization Western Pacific regional director Dr. Takeshi Kasai, while expressing optimism about the speed in the development of COVID-19 vaccine, said he remains cautious because “even they can really manage, develop safe and effective vaccine, the production capacity would not really meet the demand coming from the entire world.”
Recently, Russia announced to be the first country to develop a COVID-19 vaccine and offered to supply the Philippines with the vaccine. President Rodrigo Duterte, however, reminded Filipinos to continue complying with health protocols, such as physical distancing, wearing of mask, and proper cough etiquette, despite recent news about vaccine availability.
Go echoed the sentiments of the President and emphasized the importance of enhancing and properly implementing health protocols in communities to prevent the further spread of the virus while a vaccine is being developed.
“The important part of our fight against COVID-19 starts in us, in our homes, and in our communities. Through our cooperation, malasakit sa kapwa, and bayanihan, we can contribute to the global fight against COVID-19,” Go said.
Once a vaccine is made available, Go said that the government must ensure that the poor, 4Ps beneficiaries and vulnerable sectors will be given access and prioritized. He also urged government to prioritize the provision of free face masks to poor and vulnerable sectors who cannot afford to buy their own so that they can comply with the stricter mask-wearing policy.
Aside from his steadfast reminders to Filipinos to continue following health protocols, Go also seeks to ensure that government services remain operational and accessible despite the pandemic. Go filed a measure institutionalizing the transition of the government to the digital age through e-governance amid the current challenges caused by the pandemic.
Senate Bill No. 1738, or the E-Governance Act of 2020, mandates the government to establish an integrated, interconnected, and interoperable information and resource-sharing and communications network spanning the entirety of the national and local government, an internal records management information system, an information database, and digital portals for the delivery of public services.
The proposed measure aims to fully digitalize government processes, such as citizen services and business transactions, among others, to ensure that the country can cope with the physical and mobility limitations needed to slow the spread of diseases. This will also ensure that business processes and transactions in the country remain seamless and fully operational despite pandemic threats.
“We need to carefully balance economic and health objectives. By ensuring that government services remain operational by maximizing available technologies, we can help Filipinos easily adapt to the new normal, help our economy recover and mitigate the health risks,” Go explained.
Reminding the public that their cooperation is key to the success of the efforts of the health sector and government, Go said.