MORE than 260,000 employees of economic zones in the Visayas will be getting their Covid-19 vaccines through the efforts of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV) in partnership with Project Balik Buhay (PBB).
OPAV will help facilitate the Covid-19 vaccination of the employees in the Visayas economic zones in response to the request of Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General B/Gen. Charito "Ching" Plaza.
Plaza visited Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino in Cebu City on Monday, May 31, 2021, to hand over her letter-request.
In her letter, Plaza stated that there are a total of 265,797 ecozone workers in the Visayas.
"We have a total of 769 locator enterprises with 51 locator enterprises in Region VI, 704 in Region VII, and 14 in Region VII," the letter states.
Central Visayas has the largest number of ecozone workers in the country with a total of 221,374 direct workers. This is followed by 38,270 employees in Western Visayas and 6,153 in Eastern Visayas.
"It is high time that we pay back our investors a post-pandemic economic relief recovery platform," said Plaza.
Dino said that OPAV, through PBB, will share best practices with the help of the private sectors in the three Visayas regions.
He said that they will partner with the different chambers of commerce in the Visayas for the vaccination plan of the ecozone employees.
The PBB is an initiative of OPAV, local government units, Department of Health Region 7, and the private sector, which aims to facilitate the gradual reopening of the community.
The PBB has also been helping facilitate the government’s National Vaccination Program through its Private Sector Vaccination Centers set up in Cebu. This is in support of the National Government’s goal of achieving a safe, fast, and successful implementation of the National Vaccination Program in Cebu and the Visayas.
"This program is free of charge and aside from the vaccines and medical personnel to be provided by the DOH, all operating expenses incurred in these PBB Private Sector Vaccination Centers will be shouldered and donated by the private sector, at no cost to the Government nor to the Cebuanos availing of their services," the PBB said on its website.
As of May 4, 2021, PBB has 12 vaccination sites in Cebu with different hospitals and private partners.
Their biggest vaccination site is located at the IEC Convention Center in Cebu City.
Dino said that partnering with the private sector in inoculating their employees will help fast-track the vaccination program of the National Government.
"We will definitely replicate what PBB is doing now in Cebu to achieve our 100 percent goal in vaccinating every person in the Covid-19 vaccine master list in the Visayas," he said.
The National Government has started inoculating those in the A4 priority list, which includes essential workers or private employees required to physically report to work, employees in the government, and workers in the informal sectors.
Currently, the focus of the A4 cluster is only in Metro Cebu in the Visayas. (PR/With WBS, NRC)