From Alfred Dalizon’s column in People’s Journal: “While I share with them the same advocacy and passion in ending the insurgency problem, I enjoin them to focus on the enemy without harassing those of us who put our lives on the line while serving in the AFP and PNP,” Lacson said.
The Lacson-Sotto tandem received the endorsement of Mayor Benjamin Magalong when they campaigned in Baguio City on Feb. 18. They spoke at a Rotary International meeting. On Feb. 19, they were accompanied by Mayor Benjamin Magalong and felt the love as they took a tour of Baguio City.
Mas masigasig pang hakbang ng mga vaccination czar at pagbibigay kalayaan sa mga nangangasiwa at nagpapatupad ng pagbabakuna na gumamit ng epektibong sistema ang susi para maging matagumpay ang misyon ng pamahalaan na herd immunity laban sa COVID-19.
Isiniwalat ito ni Senador Panfilo Lacson bilang payo sa mga awtoridad matapos ang pinakahuling pagpupulong sa pagitan ng ilang senador na kinabibilangan niya, Senate President Vicente Sotto III at Senador Ronald Dela Rosa; at ni testing czar Vivencio Dizon at contact tracing czar Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong.
“We advised them to be more assertive. Senate President Sotto even said that if they are sure they are right and their ‘superiors’ are wrong, they can ‘defy’ them. Also, it is the people on the ground such as mayors who can appreciate the situation better. So it is important that they be given flexibility and more autonomy in the implementation of the vaccination program,” banggit ni Lacson sa panayam sa kanya ng CNN Philippines.
Isiniwalat din ni Lacson na magdadaos ang Senado ng Committee of the Whole hearing sa Martes, Hunyo 15, alas-10 ng umaga, bilang bahagi ng oversight function nito para alamin kung paano ginamit ng pamahalaan ang P82.5 bilyon na inilaan sa programa sa pagbabakuna, at mga kaakibat na paraan at sistema.
More assertiveness from the country’s vaccination czars and more flexibility for implementers and decision-makers on the ground will be crucial to the success of the government’s efforts to accelerate its COVID-19 vaccination drive and achieve herd immunity quickly, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson said.
Lacson stressed this following a meeting Thursday night between him, Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Sen. Ronald dela Rosa on one hand, and testing czar Vivencio Dizon and contact tracing czar Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong on the other.
He also said the Senate will conduct a Committee of the Whole hearing on Tuesday, June 15, to exercise its oversight function on the government’s utilization of its P82.5-billion for the vaccination program and to evaluate the protocols and guidelines used by the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases. The hearing is initially scheduled at 10 a.m.
“We advised them to be more assertive. Senate President Sotto even said that if they are sure they are right and their ‘superiors’ are wrong, they can ‘defy’ them. Also, it is the people on the ground such as mayors who can appreciate the situation better. So it is important that they be given flexibility and more autonomy in the implementation of the vaccination program,” Lacson said in an interview on CNN Philippines.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III and I had a good meeting with the three czars of the government’s COVID response Thursday night to discuss red tape issues and the funding needs hounding the country’s fight against COVID. We met with vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr., testing czar Vivencio Dizon, and contact tracing czar Benjamin Magalong.
Then came the instruction of President Rodrigo Duterte to Sec. Galvez to brief Senate President Vicente Sotto III. I suggested to them that SP Sotto and I just go together, along with Sen. Ronald de la Rosa.
Sec. Galvez’s briefing clarified a lot of issues and concerns raised by the senators that have remained unresolved until last night. We advised him to explain in tomorrow’s hearing the same way that he did last night, without violating the terms of the agreement with the vaccine suppliers.
On our part, we committed to honor and respect those terms so as not to put in jeopardy the deliveries of the vaccines that he said will start within the first quarter of this year.
I accepted his apology. He promised to be more careful in issuing statements.
We were shown the documents. And we have no doubt about Sec. Galvez’s integrity and his sincerity to accomplish his task.
That said, we advised Sec. Galvez to mind his back, front, left and right sides. He may have the best of intentions but there may be people pushing him out front to do the talking and explaining to take advantage of his credibility while pursuing their own interests. He assured us that he will make it very hard for those people to even have an opening for that opportunity.
We share the same goal – to ensure our people are vaccinated against COVID-19, with no room for overpricing and other irregularities. The executive and legislative departments must work together in this regard.
The app allows users to log interactions with other people; and do self-assessment if they experience symptoms. In just a few days of implementation, the local government has already signed up 42,000 out of the municipality’s 97,557 residents. For those without smartphones, the local government’s barangay and police personnel can input the information for them.
Meanwhile, in Baguio City, the local government under Mayor Benjamin Magalong is doing contact tracing using the EndCovid-19 system, which relies on the geographical information system (GIS) platform to plot the areas where possible COVID-19 carriers live – similar to that which he introduced when he was Cordillera regional police chief.
Combined with cognitive interviews and analytical tools, the system has made Baguio City a model for contact tracing.
With these technologies, we can potentially save P11.7 billion being asked by the Department of Health for contact tracers. I share Senate President Vicente Sotto III’s sentiment that there are more practical uses for the amount. These may include livelihood programs for those affected by the COVID-triggered lockdowns, among others.
Our national agencies, including the Department of Health, need not look far for contact tracing solutions that are effective, yet are not intrusive. Instead, they must take a cue from our LGUs. Especially given our limited resources, they can do no less.