Following the government’s announcement of new quarantine rules, Senator Kiko Pangilinan said the private sector and the local government units (LGUs) should be given a bigger role in COVID-19 response especially when it comes to vaccination.

Pangilinan stressed that the government’s vaccination efforts are inadequate and slow, and that the government needs to speed up its efforts with the help of LGUs and the private sector.

“We have to speed it up.”

“We have to speed it up. The private sector also wants the vaccination to step up, asking that they be allowed to go ahead with their own vaccinations,” the veteran legislator said.

“We saw this from day one. As early as January, we are already saying that unless the private sector takes a bigger role as well as the LGUs, we’re never going to be able to roll it out effectively,” the seasoned lawmaker added.

The senator challenged the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to enable LGUs by giving up some of its powers so that it could reach its goal of 70 million vaccinated Filipinos by year-end.

“Don’t keep it to yourselves. To reach 70 million, you need an army on the ground. You cannot just rely on the DOH; its army of health personnel on the ground would be the private sector as well as the LGUs,” he stressed.

While Pangilinan expressed optimism that the government would reach its goal of 70 million COVID-vaccinated Filipinos by the end of 2021, he said it would all depend on how it addresses the matter on a day-to-day basis.

“I hope he’s able to achieve what they plan out to do, but looking at it from the ground, they need to do more to achieve their target,” said Pangilinan, referring to vaccine chief Carlito Galvez’s plan to inoculate some 70 million Filipinos this year.

He also reiterated his call for a revamp of the IATF, but prefers Galvez to stay as he is doing a good job.

“If you’re surrounded by turkeys, you can’t fly like an eagle.”

“Secretary Galvez is very competent. But if you’re surrounded by turkeys, you can’t fly like an eagle,” Pangilinan stressed.

He said Galvez should be surrounded by experts and people who have the know-how so the IATF can perform effectively.


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