Press Release
January 11, 2021

11 JAN 2021

Good morning, Mr. President, colleagues.

Thank you, Mr President. Happy New Year to our Senate President, colleagues, and to our resource persons, and good morning.

By January 30, 2021, a mere 19 days from now, it will be the anniversary of the first Philippine case of Covid-19. January 30, 2021 is also the anniversary, first year, of the declaration of the World Health Organization of a global health emergency. Prior to that, January also of last year, we called for a pre-emptive travel ban to prevent the spread of the said virus.

We can't help but feel a sense of déjà vu -- parang nakita na natin ito -- in the same month, a year later, discussing basic issues on the control of the spread of Covid-19. We feel the same urgency, especially now that we have a new variant that was first reported in the UK that is supposed to be 70 percent more infectious. Then as now, we raise various preemptive and proactive solutions. This time, we are here to look into solutions on how to efficiently roll-out and expedite the Covid vaccination program of the country.

As of January 6, the Philippines has reported 480,673 Covid-19 cases of which 3,347 Filipinos have died.

Today, [as of] January 10, it is reported that there are 1,900 new cases.

Our questions remain the same since we rose on a matter of collective and personal privilege last December 14, and the body has graciously and our leadership has promptly adopted our resolution to convene the Senate Committee of the Whole.


  • What is the game plan?

  • Which vaccines are we choosing to give our people? What will be our basis for selecting the vaccines?

  • If 50 to 70 million Filipinos have to be inoculated, how long must it take to inoculate 50 to 70 million Filipinos to ensure herd immunity?

  •  Who will administer the shots? How many vaccinators will be needed?

  •  What is the role of local governments in the overall effort? How do we coordinate local government purchases of the vaccine in the overall effort?

  •  Who will train the vaccinators? ? Who will prepare the list of beneficiaries? How fool-proof is this list?

  •  How are we going to guard against the possible proliferation of fake vaccines that might victimize the vulnerable?

  •  Do we have enough deep freezers? Are we stockpiling on syringes, needles, and gloves?

  •  How are we going to distribute the vaccine?

Just several days ago, Pulse Asia released survey results showing that nearly half or 47 percent of Filipinos said late last year they would not get themselves vaccinated. Concern about the safety of the vaccines, at 84 percent, is primarily why they said they would not get vaccinated.

Bulk of our work therefore, aside from the logistics of acquiring the vaccine and implementing the program, is to restore public confidence in vaccinations.

We believe that the Senate leadership, through the Senate Committee of the Whole, is an important step to bringing the all-important conversation closer to our people -- where they will be able to understand its importance, and where they can see that their leaders have a plan.

Nagawa na natin ito, dito sa Senado, sa Committee of the Whole hearings, noong Bayanihan 1, Bayanihan 2, at alam kong magagawa rin natin dito sa Committee of the Whole hearing na ito.

We reiterate what we said last December when we filed this resolution: Transparency in the process is key if there is to be public trust in a vaccine roll-out. Without the public's trust and support, a program of this magnitude will not succeed.

Susi ng matagumpay na vaccine roll-out ang koneksyon ng taumbayan sa proseso. Kung walang tiwala at suporta mula sa taumbayan sa bakuna, hindi magtatagumpay ang anumang programa.

It couldn't be denied that this can arguably be considered the most important endeavor we face as a nation since World War II. Through science and cooperation, we are fighting a pandemic that has rendered our country in a standstill for 10 months now.

Only with the support and participation of the public and all stakeholders can we ensure success.

Tungkulin natin bilang lingkod-bayan ang maayos, mabilis, at bukas na pagpapatupad ng pambansang pagbabakuna kontra Covid.

Uulitin natin na buhay ng milyon-milyon nating mga kababayan ang nakataya rito. Kabuhayan, kita, at trabaho ng milyon-milyon nating mga nagugutom na kababayan ang nakasalalay sa agarang pagbangon ng ating ekonomiya na nakasalalay naman sa maayos na pagpapatupad ng vaccine roll-out sa buong bansa.

Hindi tayo maaring magkamali. Failure is not an option.

Para ito sa lahat ng Pilipino, mga pamilya at front-liners na namatay o namatayan ng mahal sa buhay bunga ng pandemya. Mga front-liners pa rin na patuloy na tinataya ang buhay upang gamutin ang mga may sakit nating mga kababayan;

Para sa mga maliliit na namumuhunan na napilitang magsara ng negosyo dahil sa lockdown, para sa lahat ng nawalan ng pagkakakitaan at trabaho tulad ng mga jeepney drivers;

Para sa mga nag-co-commute, mga office at temporary workers na araw-araw nakikipagsapalaran, sinusugal ang buhay makapasok lang kahit may Covid;

Para sa ating mga OFWs na nawalan ng trabaho at nagsiuwian dahil sa kalagayan ng bansang pinagtatrabahuhan.

Para sa ating mga magsasaka at mangingisda na panandaliang nawalan ng access sa merkado dahil sa lockdown.

Para sa mga estudyante, mga guro, at mga magulang na nagkakandarapa at nahihirapan sa paputol-putol na Internet o kulang na telepono o tablet para maka-attend ang kanilang mga anak ng distance-learning classes.

Utang natin sa kanila ang maayos, mabilis, at bukas na pagpapatupad ng pambansang pagbabakuna kontra Covid.

We owe it to them that we implement Philippines' Covid-19 vaccination program swiftly, efficiently, and with transparency.

Uulitin natin, hindi tayo maaing magkamali. Failure is not an option.

Maraming salamat po.

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