“We want to go back to normal” and are calling on more residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19 to achieve this, Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson said Sunday, July 10.
“Down the road, we want to go back to normal, hence this call for more vaccination,” Lacson said in response to the appeal of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Friday for local officials to support the COVID-19 booster campaign in order to safely resume face-to-face classes and fully reopen the economy.
Face to face classes in Negros Occidental have started but not at 100 percent, Lacson said, adding that he still has to consult with the schools division superintendent.
Negros Occidental remains to be the lowest COVID-19 vaccination performer in Western Visayas, the Department of Health (DOH) reported on July 3.
The province has only vaccinated of 64.73 percent of its target general population, and 59.13 percent of its target senior citizens, the DOH report said.
Eleven Negros Occidental LGUs are under Alert Level 1, while 20 remain under Alert Level 2 for failing to ramp up their vaccination drives.
“Local officials have been reminded to push their respective vaccination drives, especially the poor performers,” Lacson said.
“We will continue to reach the target,” Lacson said.
Marcos in his virtual meeting with the country’s city mayors, including those from Negros Occidental who gathered at Malacañang on Friday, said “I hope that you will be part of the effort that we have to bring us back to normal”.
Marcos, who is currently in isolation after testing positive for COVID-19, stressed the importance of in-person learning for students as well as opening up the economy with people not worrying about reposition of lockdowns.
The president wants local government units to conduct large-scale immunization drives for booster shots targeting school children so they can safely go back to school either August or September.
Marcos said Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte-Carpio plans a phased return to the face-to-face classes, starting initially from a two-day, or three-day weekly class schedule.
If the massive vaccination drive becomes successful, the government could allow children to return to full face-to-face classes and open the rest of the economy, which Marcos said could send a signal to the rest of the world that the Philippines is opening up for business.*