"The right to health cannot be sacrificed and must remain as the primary consideration."
The people of Quezon welcomed the new year filled with hope that this COVID-19 pandemic will soon be resolved. It may be hard to admit, however, that the road to healing and recovery is still a long way ahead given the new strains of the virus found in the country.
The national government is currently engaged in the negotiations and procurement of COVID-19 vaccines. Just as national security has no price tag, the lives of the people take precedence over financial costs. The right to health is of paramount importance such that it needs to be protected and upheld at all times in accordance with the Constitution. Amid the issues that hound the procurement of the COVID-19 vaccines by the national government, the right to health cannot be sacrificed and must remain as the primary consideration.
For this reason, the Provincial Government of Quezon and its local government units stand by their mandate and commitment to promote and preserve the health and welfare of their citizens. The Provincial Government decided to raise and allot P1 billion for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines for the residents of Quezon province. The amount will be sourced from loans from the Land Bank of the Philippines and Development Bank of the Philippines where we have a borrowing threshold of P4 billion.
As to the brand, which is often asked of LGUs, there will always be speculation from the people. Hence, I leave it to the medical experts to make the decision, as long as the vaccine will not pose harm and is proven effective in giving adequate protection against COVID-19. The provincial and national IATF for COVID-19 will be making the final decision on this matter.
With more or less 2 million population in Quezon, we will make our health care workers in various health facilities catering to COVID-19 patients province-wide a priority, along with other frontliners such as our police and military who are in charge of implementing minimum health safety protocols and rescue/emergency response. We will also give priority to the poor to spare them from unnecessary medical costs of COVID-19.
While we are waiting for the emergency use authorization for the vaccines, let us be patient and not grow tired of following health protocols. Let us continue exercising vigilance and observe strict precautions to prevent the spread of the disease. Our medical experts and health institutions are, no doubt, doing their job with extreme care and skill in examining these vaccines to make sure that no undue harm will come to the recipients. The health sciences follow a systematic and evidence-based approach which, if strictly complied with, will yield reliable results, as has been proven for centuries.
While we’re tasked to patiently wait and trust the conclusions of our health experts, it won’t hurt to pray more and increase our faith in the Lord. After all, everything is in God’s hands.