The government will give away a bicycle and a cell phone with P5,000 worth of load to economic front-liners in the A4 category who get two jabs of the COVID-19 vaccine, the Department of Labor and Employment said Thursday.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the beneficiaries can use the bicycle and the cell phone to start their own business.
“That is your reward if you show us that you already received two doses of the vaccine starting July 1,” Bello said.
Bello said the Free Bisikleta (FreeBis) project which was launched last year, will be reintroduced as BakSikleta, to help encourage the people especially the said workers to have themselves vaccinated.
Bello said an initial 2,000 bicycles will be provided to beneficiaries -- 1,000 of which will be distributed in the National Capital Region (NCR) while the other 1,000 will be distributed to its regional offices nationwide.
Those who would like to apply for the program may contact the DOLE hotline 1349 or the Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns social media account.
The government has started vaccinating those under the A4 priority list this month.
The DOLE’s FreeBis project aims to cushion the effects of the pandemic on the livelihood of workers.
The bicycle units come with a helmet, raincoat, water bottle, thermal bag, and an Android mobile phone with a P5,000 load.
Cebu Pacific Air (CEB) on Thursday delivered to Manila another 1.5million Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine doses from Beijing.
The shipment, which arrived at 7:16 a.m. at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, includes the first batch of 500,000 doses procured by the private sector.
CEB chief strategy officer Alex Reyes said Cebu Pacific will continue to support the government’s vaccine distribution efforts while helping the private sector obtain doses of the vaccine.
“We are committed to continue contributing in this national fight against COVID-19 through the safe and timely delivery of vaccines from abroad and across our domestic network,” said Reyes.
Over the week, more than 330,000 doses were shipped to different provinces such as Virac, Tuguegarao, Masbate, Puerto Princesa, Zamboanga, Legazpi, Bacolod, Cotabato, Butuan, Tagbilaran, Roxas and to Cebu as the newest destination.
On June 15, CEB transported its first shipment of 54,400 COVID-19 vaccine doses to Cebu.
To date, CEB has flown over 6 six million COVID-19 doses from China, on top of more than 1.4 million doses carried to 14 Philippine provinces.
Vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez said a shipment of 250,000 doses of Moderna vaccines from the United States is also set to arrive on June 25.
Last week, a shipment of Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccines arrived in Manila, bringing to four the total shipments of vaccines from Russia.
The government distributed the newly-arrived Sputnik V vaccines to cities with a high number of COVID-19 cases.
House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco on Thursday received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
In a social media post, Velasco was shown being inoculated at the House of Representatives Vaccination Center with Sinovac.
Velasco earlier said he was more than willing to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in public to convince Filipinos that the vaccine is safe and necessary.
He also cited the need for House members and employees to get vaccinated to keep the legislative mill running as well as protect them and their families from the virus.
In other developments:
* The Valenzuela city government has set up a night vaccination site exclusively for workers under the A4 priority group. The dedicated lanes at Pasolo Elementary School started operations on Wednesday. It will be open 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., subject to scheduling per company. Mayor Rex Gatchalian said all employees of Valenzuela-based companies will be accommodated.
* The city government of Navotas Thursday rolled out its house-to-house vaccination against COVID-19 to serve Navoteños unable to visit the city’s vaccination sites because of an ailment. The city also started the inoculation of residents belonging to A5 category or the indigent. An initial 30 bedridden senior residents of Barangay Tangos North and South received their first jabs in their homes.
* A member of the OCTA Research Group that has been tracking the pandemic said Thursday that the inoculation of people in a certain population can only prevent future surges of COVID-19 but not current ones. OCTA Research fellow Nicanao Austriaco said vaccines take six weeks to two months to take effect, so they will not have an effect on an ongoing surge.