Economic frontliners to get vaccine priority too, says finance chief
MANILA, Philippines — Workers in the productive sectors of the economy will also be prioritized during the mass inoculation against COVID-19, as economic managers continue to push for the further easing of restrictions, which have aggravated hunger and joblessness in areas still under strict quarantine.
“Alongside our economic recovery measures, we are fast-tracking the rollout of our national vaccination program. As we speak, negotiations for the purchase of vaccines and their delivery are well underway. The doses we are acquiring are more than enough to inoculate 100 percent of the country’s adult population, which is approximately 70 million people out of our total population of 110 million people,” Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, who heads President Rodrigo Duterte’s economic team, said on Friday.
Dominguez is also on top of looking for money to fund the national government’s vaccination program, which will be rolled out by the Department of Health.
As such, Dominguez said that “aside from our health-care workers, we will prioritize vaccinating our economic front-line workforce.”
“Doing so will help us reopen the economy safely,” he said.
For Dominguez, “the more sustainable path to recovery is to foster the revival of our enterprises and the restoration of consumer activity—a strong private sector is the key to our recovery strategy.”
For the economic team, reopening a bigger chunk of the economy would address the lack of food and jobs, instead of giving away more dole-outs to vulnerable households.
“The present economic downturn cannot be fully confronted by throwing subsidies at everything in sight. This would only fuel inflation without driving expansion. It will bring us to a debt crisis farther down the road,” Dominguez said.
But Mr. Duterte has rejected the proposal of Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua to place the entire country under modified general community quarantine to revive up to 95 percent of economic activities, as mass vaccination had yet to start.
Yet, Dominguez said “the prospects for 2021 are encouraging” as “we have gone through the worst episodes of this pandemic.”
The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link .
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.