June 24, 2024

The provinces of Ifugao and Benguet have been called out for still having not reached the targets in the vaccination of its eligible populations.
During the Coordinated Operations to Defeat Epidemic (CODE) team visit in Baguio on March 11, the National Task Force Against Covid-19 led by Deputy Chief Implementer of the National Action Plan against Covid-19 Sec. Vince Dizon appealed to the two provinces to increase their vaccination rates, which are currently only a little about 50 percent, when most provinces and cities in the Cordillera have reached the 70 percent of the 80 percent target population and even surpassed 100 percent of the target population and; 80 percent of the 85 percent of its senior citizens.
Records show Ifugao recorded 51.46 percent of its target population are fully vaccinated and 70.2 percent are fully vaccinated seniors.
Benguet, on the other hand, has only 53.36 percent fully vaccinated population and 54.1 percent fully vaccinated senior citizens.
“I hate to call out areas but I have to. I really request the two provinces because their vaccination rate is low. Nagmamakaawa na po ako sa Benguet and Ifugao na kailangan natin talagang itaas ang vaccination rate. Narito po ang national government para suportahan kayo,” Dizon said.
He stressed on the importance of being vaccinated, saying as long as there are unvaccinated among the populations, the risks to health due to the Covid-19 will remain. These risks he said would be threats not only to the vaccinated but much higher to those who are not vaccinated.
“Kung bakunado ka para ka lang sinipon o tinrangkaso. But if not, halos sigurado maoospital ka at mapupuno na naman ang mga ospital ng Baguio,” Dizon said.
Dizon said if Ifugao and Benguet will not reach the targets, he warned these provinces will not be allowed to lower their risk status to alert level 1, with the vaccination targets strictly being required by the national IATF based on guidelines.
He said like they always have, the national government is ready to help these provinces, such as vaccination personnel, all the vaccines they need, and logistics support.
Dizon also assured the city government of Baguio through Mayor Benjamin Magalong will continue to support the Cordillera provinces, especially its neighboring areas in all aspects it could provide help.
But he said leaders of Benguet and Ifugao should take the lead.
“We really need you to take the lead not only in following the rules in the new normal but of making sure as many of our kababayan are vaccinated. Kailangan po kayo ang mag-lead. Kailangang makumbinse ang mga kababayan natin. Alam kong there are cultural and religious hesitancies and stumbling blocks, but for this itabi natin muna ang mga ito because safety nating lahat ang nakasalalay,” Dizon said.
The NTF conducted the CODE team visit in Baguio dubbed “Bida tungo sa New Normal” to support local government units in strengthening their response to the health crisis as the country gears toward the new normal. It also served as a platform for multi-stakeholder dialogues. –Hanna C. Lacsamana