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Arbas thanks Mayor Isko, VM Honey, Sec. Ang and Dr. Padilla for mass vaccination

April 24, 2021 Itchie G. Cabayan 714 views

KUDOS to Bureau of Immigration (BI) alien registration division chief deputy chief Patch Arbas for going over and beyond the call of duty in ensuring the protection of his colleagues against the deadly coronavirus.

Arbas, who is also vice chairman of the bureau’s COVID Task Force, along with its chairman Aldwin Alegre, initiated moves so that the bureau’s senior citizens and persons with comorbidities may be inoculated with their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine starting this weekend, April 24 to 25, at the BI office in Intramuros.

Targeted for vaccination are 1,250 immigration personnel with the government-procured CoronaVac, the vaccine from Sinovac Biotech, that is administered in two doses in an interval of 28 days.

Only those employees who are already eligible in accordance with the priority list provided by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) will get the jab.

The vaccination will be done on a weekend so that the work of the concerned BI employees will not be affected.

The BI employees are considered as frontliners, being the first people that arriving passengers in any port encounter.

Alegre clarified that despite the vaccine rollout among immigration officers, they will continue to implement basic health protocols such as wearing of face masks and face shields, maintaining physical distancing, and checking of body temperatures.

“BI is a frontline agency and our employees at the ports, as well as in our numerous offices nationwide, have remained open to provide service. Our frontliners are one of the most exposed and have a high risk in contracting the highly transmissible virus. As such, we will continue to make sure that all health protocols are being followed,” Alegre underscored, as he also expressed hope towards the positive effect of the vaccine rollout towards public service.

“I am confident that as our officers get their jabs, we will be able to carry out our mandate better and with less worry,” said Alegre.

He and Arbas thanked those who assisted the bureau in inoculating its frontline personnel.

“We wish to thank the Department of Health, the Office of Mayor Isko Moreno of the City of Manila, Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna-Pangan, City Health Director Dr. Arnold Pangan, Secretary to the Mayor Bernie Ang and Sta. Ana Hospital Director Dr. Grace Padilla for assisting us in this this endeavor,” said Alegre.

Indeed, I know for a fact that Arbas had been making representations with the Manila city government, specifically Secretary Don Bernie ‘Yantao’ Ang, regarding measures aimed at protecting the BI personnel from COVID-19.

Through the coordination made by Arbas with Sec. Ang, the bureau was aided by the City of Manila for the safekeeping of the BI’s vaccine allotment until the final scheduled rollout.

To date, almost 300 BI employees have been infected with COVID-19 and at the height of the pandemic last year, it was also Arbas who sought help from Sec. Ang so that their personnel may be tested for free.

Mayor Isko Moreno did not think twice when Sec. Ang relayed the request made by Arbas and had 1,100 of BI’s employees undergo COVID tests, when the agency ordered the mandatory testing of all its personnel for COVID-19. These tests were also provided free of charge.

Sec. Ang said that the mayor has expressed willingness to extend to the BI employees all the free services that the city government had been offering to its residents.

National government employees based in Manila may avail of any services available should they need it, the good secretary says. The BI is based in Intramuros, Manila.

Arbas said: “We owe a great deal of gratitude to Mayor Moreno for heeding our request and for sending a team of frontliners from the city health department despite their hectic schedule in conducting the vaccination as they did when we needed to have our personnel tested for COVID-19.”

Sec. Ang assured Arbas that swab tests and even the city’s quarantine facilities and hospital services, barring congestion, may also be availed of by any BI employee who may need them.

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