Press Release
April 12, 2022

Tolentino lauds BARMM govt's intensified COVID-19 vax drive

MANILA - Senator Francis 'Tol' N. Tolentino lauded the decision of the regional government of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) to further intensify its vaccination drive against the dreaded COVID-19 disease.

Tolentino made the remarks following the announcement made by the BARMM's Ministry of Health that the regional government is aiming to inoculate some 215,000 more residents from 71 identified localities which reportedly have low vaccination percentage.

According to Tolentino, increasing the inoculation rate in BARMM will not only fast track the national government's main goal of achieving herd immunity but will also help prevent spoilage amid reports that there are millions worth of procured vaccines that are set to expire in the coming months ahead.

"We laud the BARMM government for this innovative effort especially that millions worth of vaccines are set to expire. Inutang pa po natin ang pinangbili ng mga bakunang ito kaya dapat lang na walang masayang sa mga ito," said Tolentino.

The BARMM's Ministry of Health earlier announced that there will be a schedule of special vaccination days right after the end of the Ramadan and election periods next month and it will commence from May 11 to 20.

Tolentino, chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government last March 2 visited Cotabato City, wherein he was briefed by BARMM Chief Minister Ahod 'Al-hajj Murad' Ebrahim and acting Health Minister Dr. Zul Qarneyn Abas with updates on the region's COVID-19 response.

During the visit, Tolentino raised concern over the reported low vaccination rate in the region, since only 1.4-million dose of various COVID-19 vaccine brands were reportedly given as revealed by Dr. Abas, despite the fact that BARMM has a population of more than 4.1-million—only less than half a million of its residents are fully vaccinated.

Aside from Tolentino, President Rodrigo Duterte urged Ebrahim to encourage his people to get vaccinated against COVID amid reports that BARMM has tallied the lowest vaccination coverage in the country.

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