Biz sector to help Baguio City buy coronavirus vaccines

Philippine Military Academy Superintendent Major General Ferdinand Cartujano receives a plaque and tokens from Baguio City officials led by Mayor Benjamin Magalong and Congressman Mark Go during the commemoration of the 124th martyrdom of Dr. Jose Rizal at the Rizal Park in Baguio City last December 30, 2020. **RMC PIA-CAR

BAGUIO CITY – Big companies operating in the city are willing to help in the procurement of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines for the residents.
Mayor Benjamin Magalong, during the first flag-raising ceremony of the year on Monday, announced that these companies are willing to shoulder or donate 50 percent of the vaccine requirements of the city.
“It means that if they have 100 employees, they will buy 200 and donate 100 to the city,” he said.
On the sidelines of the Monday flag-raising, Magalong said he met with business people last week where he personally asked if they can help by giving vaccines.
“Last week I was in talk with some businessmen of Baguio and they promised that they will meet para pag-usapan kung ano ang pwede nilang ibigay sa syudad ng Baguio and I stipulated to them na kung pwede sana, kung ano ang requirement nila ay doblehin nila ang total requirement ng kanilang workforce meaning kung 100 ang tao nila, they have to order another 100 or 200 na oorderin nila para yung 100 maibigay nila sa local government (to discuss what they can give to the city government so I asked them that if they may double the requirement for their employees, meaning if they have 100 workers, they will order another 100 to make it 200 and give the 100 to the city),” Magalong said.
He said the same strategy is being done by the vaccination committee at the national level, talking with the private sector.
The mayor said several companies have committed to donate vaccine doses to the national government as assistance in the country’s effort to combat the disease, which he is duplicating in the city.
He said that during the day, he will talk with the (Jaime) Ongpin Foundation to be the conduit in procuring vaccines that a global company will donate to the city.
Magalong asked to give an update as soon as everything is finalized as talks are still in progress.
He asked other companies who want to help by donating vaccines to discuss with them the plans so that there will be a synchronized action.
The city government is currently preparing for the Covid-19 vaccination program after Baguio was identified by the Department of Health as among the pilot area.
He said they “are working on the priority list.”
Magalong said health workers who are hospital workers are on top of the list followed by the elderly especially those with comorbidities, then the social workers, those engaged in providing services to the public, and those working at the city market.
Magalong also said they have already ordered three freezers capable of storing the vaccines which will require from negative (-)2 to (-)8; -20 to -40 and -40 to -80 degrees Celsius.
Preparing for new strain
Meanwhile, the mayor said the city is preparing its isolation and quarantine facilities in case the projected increase in cases after the holidays actually happens.
“We now have 650 isolation beds. By the end of this month, we have 1,000 beds and we will be ready in case there is a surge in cases including the effect of the new strain which they say is more contagious,” Magalong said. **By Liza Agoot, PNA

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