2-day vaccination held in Bantayan Island to help bring back tourists

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IN A bid to encourage tourists to visit tourism destinations in Cebu, various government agencies and non-government organizations held a two-day intensified vaccination program in the three municipalities in Bantayan Island.

A total of 3,494 individuals got vaccinated in the towns of Bantayan, Santa Fe and Madridejos on Oct. 1-2, 2021.

The town of Bantayan made the most vaccinations with a total of 2,554 individuals.

Madridejos vaccinated 618 individuals and Santa Fe vaccinated 322.

In their meeting, Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino and Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia agreed on the need to give priority to Cebu’s tourist destinations in the vaccine rollout to revive the industry.

“We need to restore tourists’ confidence in Cebu as a destination so they will return to help jumpstart Cebu’s economic recovery. Aside from implementing minimum health protocols, Cebu can ensure the safety of both tourists and locals through vaccination,” said Dino.

The activity was spearheaded by the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas, Visayas Covid-19 Vaccination Operations Center (VVOC), Cebu Provincial Government, Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF)-Visayas, Department of Health (DOH) 7, the Cebu Vaccination Group led by the Cebu-based All-Terrain Medical Relief Organization, JCI Metro Cebu Uptown, and Cebu City Emergency Operations Center.

The tourism sector, which is a major contributor to Cebu’s economy, has been adversely affected by the pandemic. But the pandemic dealt a serious blow against the sector as travel ceased.

In 2019, Central Visayas’ tourism receipts amounted to P97 billion. Cebu accounts for the bulk of tourist arrivals in the region.

IATF Visayas chief implementer retired military general Melquiades Feliciano had stressed the need to give priority to the tourist destinations in Cebu to help jumpstart the economic recovery.

According to Feliciano, they will give priority to tourist destinations in Cebu as far as the implementation of the vaccination program is concerned to help these areas recover.

Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, DOH 7 chief pathologist and VVOC spokesperson, also cited the importance of vaccinations in these areas.

“As tourist spots, we need to have a community vaccination. How can we accept tourists if we are not vaccinated first?” she said.

Last Oct. 1, the mass vaccinations were conducted in the municipalities of Bantayan and Madridejos. The activity continued in Santa Fe last Oct. 2.

A similar activity is also scheduled to be held in Camotes Islands, which is also one of the most-visited sites in Cebu.

During the ceremonial launching of the tourism sector vaccination program held last Sept. 27, Feliciano committed to inoculate 100 percent of tourism workers in Cebu by the end of October.

Feliciano, together with wife Mia Feliciano, Dr. Loreche and lawyer Lessandro Maraon, who represented Secretary Dino, went to Bantayan Island to check all three sites during the mass vaccination.

Dino commended the three LGUs of Bantayan Island and encouraged all other LGUs to strengthen their Covid-19 vaccination efforts. (PR)

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