SUBIC, Zambales – The vaccination of economic front-liners or A4 workers of the Subic Bay Freeport Zone kicked off at the Nidec Satellite vaccination site in Zambales on Tuesday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, who conducted his press briefing after the ceremonial vaccination, underscored the importance of vaccinating the workers of the Subic Bay Freeport Zone because of the nature of the industries or businesses that operate in the area and their contribution to the Philippine economy.
“Ang mga industriyang ito hindi nagsasara dahil sila po ay export-oriented at maski po mayroon tayong ECQ, patuloy ang pagtatrabaho ng ating mga manggawa dito. Ang kanilang mga mina-manufacture dito ay ine-export natin at dahilan para kumita ng foreign exchange ang ating bansa na ginagamit naman natin pambili ng mga napakadami nating inaangkat, kasama na po ang gasoline at mga gamot (These industries are not closing because they are export-oriented and even though we have ECQ [enhanced community quarantine], our workers here continue to work. We export their products to earn foreign exchange, which we use to pay for products we import, among them gasoline and medicines),” Roque said.
The Subic Bay Freeport Zone’s economic front-liners, estimated at 138,965 as of June, are the backbone of the 1,744 companies operating in the freeport zone with a cumulative investment of more than USD10.53 billion.
“Ang atin pong pagbibigay ng bakuna ngayon dito sa Subic Freeport Zone, ito po ay pagkilala sa kabayanihan ng ating mga manggawa sa export-oriented industries, gaya po ng Nidec dito po sa Subic Bay Freeport Zone (Our vaccination here today is in recognition of the heroism of our workers in export-oriented industries, such as Nidec),” Roque said.
Nidec Subic Philippines president Kiyoshi Sato thanked the national government for choosing Nidec as a satellite vaccination site and for selecting its employees as the first recipients of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines under the A4 category at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.
Sato emphasized the importance of valuing the health and well-being of employees to the growth of the business, as the company plans to increase its current 458 employees to 800 this year.
The vaccination of A4 workers in the freeport zone was done through the initiative of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), with assistance from the National Task Force Against Covid-19 (NTF) and the Department of Health (DOH).
Chairperson and administrator of SBMA, Wilma Eisma, thanked the national government for the A4 vaccination program, saying it is a relief for the economic front-liners to be given protection against Covid-19 to give them the confidence to go to work.
Eisma also said the vaccination of A4 workers would give businesses the confidence to continue with their economic activities.
On the part of the DOH, Undersecretary Roger Tong-an said the department remains committed to addressing the pandemic through the continued and intensified implementation of the prevent-detect-isolate-treat-reintegrate or PDITR strategy and the minimum public health standards, as well as the rollout of the national vaccination program.
During the ceremonial vaccination, Tong-an said the DOH continues to inform the public of the importance of vaccination as a protection against Covid-19, as it adopts a prioritization framework for Covid-19 vaccination based on recommendations from experts to ensure the equitable distribution of vaccines.
Meanwhile, Zambales Vice Governor Jay Khonghun said Covid-19 cases in Zambales are low, one of the lowest in Central Luzon, which he attributed to the cooperation and effective implementation of protocols by local government units and the national government.
The DOH Central Luzon Center for Health Development’s OIC Director Corazon Flores said while some clustering of cases were seen in some barangays in Zambales, these were immediately addressed by the municipal, city, and provincial surveillance teams.
In the same press briefing, NTF deputy chief implementer, Secretary Vivencio Dizon, announced that as of July 26, more than 17.5 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines have been administered nationwide, with 6.3 million individuals already fully vaccinated.
Dizon added that the current highest daily jab rate for the Philippines was recorded last week at 472,000, which is near the 500,000 daily jab target. (PR)