SENATOR Christopher “Bong” Go, head of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, stressed the need to continue implementing minimum public health standards amid recent proposals to lift the State of Public Health Emergency and make wearing of face masks optional in the country.
“It might be too early to lift the State of Public Health Emergency and the necessary health protocols imposed to contain the pandemic considering the continuing emergence of new variants,” said Go.
“These variants continue to cause an increase in hospitalization rates and we do not want to come again to a point where our healthcare system gets overwhelmed,” he added.
On Friday, the Department of Health announced that the Philippines has detected its first cases of the more infectious Omicron BA.5 subvariant in Central Luzon. Last month, DOH confirmed the local transmission of the Omicron BA.2.12.1 subvariant while the province of Negros Oriental has also reported its first case of Omicron subvariant BA.4.
Although the Philippines remains at low-risk classification, 70% of areas in the country are showing an increase in COVID-19 cases. Thus, Go reiterated the need for Filipinos to remain disciplined and vigilant.
“Patuloy lang po sana tayong mag-ingat at huwag muna magkumpyansa. Delikado pa rin ang panahon habang nandyan pa ang banta ng COVID-19. Prayoridad natin palagi na maproteksyunan ang buhay ng bawat Pilipino,” appealed the senator.
Go pointed out that some parts of the country has not yet attained 70% vaccination rate so everyone should remain focused on curbing the spread of the virus.
The senator noted that over the past two years, the government and the country’s frontliners have been exerting great efforts to ensure that a whole-of-government and a whole-of-society approach are implemented to effectively overcome the health crisis.
He reiterated the need to further strengthen the country’s healthcare system and ensure that all healthcare workers (HCWs) are well-supported as they are at the forefront of the battle against COVID-19.
Go earlier authored and co-sponsored Republic Act No. 11712 which provides for benefits and allowances to public and private HCWs during the state of a public health emergency.
He also supported the passage of Bayanihan 1 and 2 which allowed the government to better address the challenges caused by the pandemic and maximize available resources to aid low-income households and the healthcare sector as well as inject needed support to the economy.
“Ibigay natin kung ano ang nararapat para sa ating mga healthcare workers. Sila po ang nagsasakripisyo ng kanilang oras at buhay para po siguraduhin na ligtas po ang bawat Pilipino,” underscored Go.
“Noong nagsimula ang pandemya, nakita po natin na kinakailangan talagang mag-invest tayo sa magandang healthcare system para palagi tayong handa sa kung ano man ang sakuna na dumating,” he continued.
Go then appealed to authorities to continue delivering vaccines to more far-flung communities to make certain that more Filipinos are protected from COVID-19. He likewise asked the local officials to strengthen their vaccine efforts in their respective areas to better safeguard their constituents.
“I urge the national and local government units to speed up the vaccination drive, especially the booster shots, as these are necessary in providing ample protection for our people,” emphasized Go.
“Kung maraming nababakunahan, mas maraming nabibigyan ng proteksyon, at mas mabilis ang pagbubukas ng ating ekonomiya,” he cited.
“As chair of the Senate Committee on Health, the health and safety of our people are my primary interests. We cannot afford to lose all the sacrifices we had over the last two years, including the lives of our frontliners which we have lost forever,” Go said.