DUMAGUETE CITY, May 6 (PIA) -- A top official of the Duterte Cabinet has assured Dumaguetenos that the government is working hard to achieve its goal of attaining herd immunity by the end of the year.
"We, too, continue to work hard and look forward to the day, with our ongoing vaccination program, we will be able to realize herd immunity and realize freedom from COVID-19 by the end of 2021," Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles announced during an event here on May 4.
Nograles was the guest of honor and the keynote speaker of the Unveiling Ceremony of the Panilongon Historical Marker held at the Rizal Boulevard, this city.
This is the 17th marker to be unveiled in line with the National Quincentennial Commemerations (NQC) in the Philippines which highlight the 500th year anniversary of historic moments in the Philippines, particularly its contribution to the first circumnavigation of the world in 1521.
In his speech, Nograles related the Philippines' battle against COVID-19 to a significant battle in the country's history which took place 500 years ago in Mactan, Cebu - a neighboring province of Negros Oriental.
"The victory of Datu Lapu-lapu in the Battle of Mactan has become meaningful today. We, too, as a nation continue to battle and exert our efforts to rise above the adversity that we are facing with this ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. I could liken the aspiration of our government now with that of Datu Lapu-lapu and his men valiantly fighting and emerging victorious then. In the face of this pandemic, we continue to fight for our freedom from the virus," Nograles said.
"We in government and the people together continue to do all that we can for all to be able to transition with the least possible risks at the soonest possible time including most importantly, saving our most vulnerable sectors; those most affected by this war: our farmers, our fisherfolks, our women, and children," he added.
Meanwhile, Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Director-General Usec. Ramon Cualoping III, who also witnessed the unveiling, told local reporters that the Philippines has secured firm commitments from vaccine manufacturers for its vaccine rollout.
"Naa uban niingon wala daw tay kontrata sa mga vaccine manufacturer (ug) wala tay plano. Dili na tinuod. Naa tay firm orders, meaning naay kontrata pinirmahan ang Philippine Government sa tulo ka suppliers para maabot nato ang herd immunity giingon ganiha ni Sec. Nograles by end of the year (Some are saying that we don't have any plans or we haven't secured contracts with vaccine manufacturers. That is not true. We have firm orders, meaning the Philippine Government has entered a contract with three suppliers so that we can achieve herd immunity by the end of the year as stated by Sec. Nograles)," Cualoping explained.
The PIA chief assured that Philippines will have a steady supply of Sinovac vaccines, noting that three days ago another 500,000 doses arrived in the country.
He reiterated that the Philippines will get vaccines from China, Russia, and India.
He said the Indian ambassador affirmed his country's commitment to provide vaccines to the country despite the COVID-19 crisis their country is facing.
"The ambassador clarified that despite the challenges, they are still going to send us vaccines as part of our orders with them through Novovax. A month ago, ang atong Vaccine Czar niadto sa India para pirmahan ang atong kontrata (our Vaccine Czar went to India to sign the contract)," Cualoping said.
"After this trial period for Gamaleya Sputnik V, which arrived last May 1, we will be receiving another two million doses. I cannot say specifically how many weeks but the firm order of the Philippine Government with the Russian manufacturer is 20 million (doses) for Sputnik V. That is an agreement between President Rodrigo Duterte and President (Vladimir) Putin in their bilateral talk," he added.
PIA has been actively communicating the government's vaccination plans and programs to the public in partnership with the Department of Health. (ral/PIA7-Negros Oriental)