July 28, 2021 at 10:20 pm
Senator Richard Gordon, who has been fully vaccinated with the AstraZeneca jab for the coronavirus, on Wednesday became the 6th member of the Upper Chamber to test positive for COVID-19.
Gordon said he is a very exposed person because he goes to provinces and holds meetings every day trying to find ways to bring vaccines faster to the people.
“I’m asymptomatic but I’m better protected because I’m vaccinated,” said Gordon.
“If you’re vaccinated, you can still be hit but survive it. But if you’re not vaccinated, you will be infected possibly with severe symptoms, and perhaps have a fatal outcome,” he further said.
Aside from Gordon, those hit by the coronavirus were Senator Sonny Angara, Senate Majority Leader Migz Zubiri, Koko Pimentel, Bong Revilla, and Ronald dela Rosa.
Meanwhile, Senator Win Gatchalian on Wednesday said the government should seriously consider mandating the establishment of permanent evacuation centers especially in disaster-prone areas in the country.
Gatchalian renewed his call for the national government to augment the yearly budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to cover the needed appropriations for the construction of the necessary facilities for evacuees.
As author of Senate Bill No. 747 or the proposed Evacuation Center Act, Gatchalian said the University of the Philippines Resilience Institute (UPRI) and disaster preparedness advocacy group Agap Banta have been suggesting since last year for the government to earmark at least P1 billion annually over the next three years to build permanent evacuation centers all over the country.
Gordon related he is feeling slightly under the weather but exhibiting no other symptoms as of now. His doctor has advised him to rest and isolate at home.
Gordon said he will continue “to observe his symptoms and report any significant changes to my doctor.”
He said he got word yesterday morning from their molecular laboratory at the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) that his RT-PCR test result came back positive.
“I am making this announcement to speed up the contact tracing process and call on anyone who may have had contact with me to isolate immediately and get tested by RT-PCR five to seven days after said contact,” related Gordon, also chairperson of PRC.
He said he has been fully vaccinated and grateful for the protection the vaccine affords him today.
While infections in vaccinated people are relatively uncommon, he noted they can and do happen.
“What vaccines offer, as has been documented in countries with high rates of vaccination, is protection against serious illness, hospitalization, and death,” said the senator.
He said vaccines work and they save lives.
“I urge every Filipino to get vaccinated against COVID-19 if a vaccine is made available to you by your LGU, your employer, the Red Cross, or any other organization that has access to vaccines,” he said.
“I call on the government, private sector, and humanitarian and civic organizations to work together to bring more vaccines into the country so that we can get as many people as possible vaccinated,” he added.
Since Gordon said we are at war with an invisible enemy, he underscored the need to protect ourselves and our loved ones, which is our best chance to win this battle.
“For as long as large numbers of people remain unvaccinated, the virus will creep into our homes and communities and destroy lives and livelihood,” he said.
He reminded everyone that the most effective protective measures remain the same and must be always practiced -- wear a mask, observe physical distancing, and wash/disinfect your hands regularly.
These protocols should remain in place even for vaccinated people for as long as most of the population has not been vaccinated,” said Gordon.
Based on their information, 182 municipalities or 67% of 270 vulnerable provinces do not have permanent evacuation facilities for disaster victims.
According to reports, typhoons Quinta, Rolly, and Ulysses that hit the country last year displaced around 545,000 families in eight regions and these incidents exposed the unsafe conditions of the evacuation sites as some barangay halls used as alternative temporary shelters have been flooded or damaged.
The senator said the proposed permanent evacuation centers should be located at a safe distance from danger areas or hazards and must also have the most basic amenities such as sleeping area, eating area, shower and toilet, food preparation area, isolation area for potentially infectious people, and pet and livestock holding area.
In his bill, Gatchalian said that priority should be given to local government units with the most vulnerable communities and with less secure infrastructure based on the assessment of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).