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Farmers, fishers seek spot in jab priority

Group says agriculture workers, as food producers, are economic front-liners
By: - Correspondent / @dtmallarijrINQ
/ 05:06 AM June 11, 2021

IMPORTANT JOB A farmers’ group is appealing to the government to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines will reach agricultural workers, especially those in remote areas in the regions, as they are among the country’s essential food producers. —WILLIE LOMIBAO

LUCENA CITY — Farmers and fishers, as food production frontliners, deserve to be prioritized for vaccination against COVID-19, a national farmers’ group said this week.

Jansept Geronimo, spokesperson for Kilusan Para sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo at Katarungang Panlipunan (Katarungan), said that while the government had identified farmers and fishermen as among the country’s essential workers, “they are not even cited as among the priority targets in the inoculation plan.”

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The government has started accepting vaccination registrations under the A4 priority group, which covers economic frontliners or essential workers, while it continued inoculating health workers (A1), the elderly (A2) and those with medical conditions (A3).

An estimated 22 million workers belong to the A4 category, the Department of Health said.

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EARLY AT SEA In this photo taken early this year, fishermen in a community at the boundary of Lingayen and Binmaley towns in Pangasinan continue working through the health crisis so they can feed their families. —WILLIE LOMIBAO

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority’s labor force survey in April, 24.4 percent of 43.26 million employed Filipinos, or around 10.5 million, are in the agriculture sector.Geronimo, in a statement, said workers in the agriculture sector “are vital links to making food available to all, especially during this pandemic.”

“Without them, the situation during this pandemic could have been worse. Without them, there is no food. Without food, hunger will worsen. And hunger kills,” he said.

“Food access is more important than food supplements, face masks and face shields during this pandemic,” Geronimo added.

While elderly farmers and fishermen and those with medical conditions had been included in the vaccination priority in their localities, he said reports reaching their group indicated that many had yet to receive their first dose. —WITH A REPORT FROM INQUIRER RESEARCH INQ

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TAGS: coronavirus vaccination, Farmers, Fishermen, Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF)
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