Sotto presides over Senate hearing on COVID vaccination
June 16, 2021 07:02 PM
Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III heads the Committee of the Whole hearing on the status of the National COVID Vaccination Program as well as other matters relating to health and safety measures.
“Magkano na ang nagastos ng gobyerno? Ilan na ang nabiling vaccines? Ilan na ang nabakunahan? Ang inaasahan nating herd immunity bago matapos ang taon, matutupad ba ito?”
Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III will hold a Committee of the Whole (COW) hearing to discuss the COVID response of the country, including the progress of the National COVID-19 Vaccination Program and its remaining budget, amending IATF quarantine guidelines, and discussing other health protocols specifically for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs).
Easing the burden of OFWs and ROFs
Sotto, in his opening statement, said that one reason for the hearing is to “ease the burden of our OFWs and ROFs who are directly affected by the ever-changing and lengthy travel and quarantine protocols.”
At present, OFWs and ROFs are required to undergo RT-PCR swab testing upon arrival and a seven-day quarantine period in an accredited hotel.
National COVID Vaccination Program
During the Committee’s last hearing on the National COVID Vaccination Program, the government expedited the procurement of vaccines, administration processes, and established a vaccine indemnification fund.
The Senate chief said that it is only fitting to reconvene to update the public on the status of the P82.5 billion program.
“Magkano na ang nagastos ng gobyerno? Ilan na ang nabiling vaccines? Ilan na ang nabakunahan? Ang inaasahan nating herd immunity bago matapos ang taon, matutupad ba ito?” Sotto wrote in his speech.
(How much has the government spent so far? How many vaccines have been purchased? How many people are vaccinated? Will we achieve the herd immunity we aim for before this year ends?)
Amending IATF guidelines
To support the reopening of the economy, Sotto said that the possibility of amending the current IATF quarantine guidelines should also be tackled.
“We are exercising our oversight powers not to criticize the government’s response in addressing the pandemic, but to help find progressive solutions to the evolving problems we are facing today,” he added.
Effective June 16, 2021, fully vaccinated senior citizens will be allowed to go out in areas under GCQ and MGCQ. Sotto said this is an example of quarantine guidelines adjusting to developments based on the vaccination program.
Attendees of the hearing are representatives from the National Task Force Against COVID-19, the Department of Budget and Management, the Department of Health, the Department of Finance, and Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, representing the LGUs.