Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Art Tugade has ordered the strict implementation of health and safety measures in public transport facilities as he led the pilot COVID-19 vaccination of transport workers at the Paranaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (PITX) on Saturday, 31 July 2021.
“Mahalaga po para sa atin na masigurong bakunado ang ating mga bayaning transport workers, lalo na at iba't-ibang lugar ang kanilang pinupuntahan, gayundin ang mga taong kanilang nakakasalamuha sa araw-araw,” the Transportation Chief said during the kick-off ceremony.
The vaccination drive dubbed as “TsuperHero: Kasangga ng Resbakuna” will inoculate public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers, conductors, and other transport workers through a partnership among the DOTr Road Transport Sector, the Department of Health (DOH), the Mega Manila Consortium Corporation (MMCC), the Parañaque City government, and the PITX.
The MMCC converted five buses of which three units are being utilized to inoculate at least 1,000 transport workers every Saturday to reach its minimum target of 6,000 vaccinees.
The Parañaque City government provided the first batch of vaccines while the remaining vaccines needed for the vaccination drive will be sourced from the national government, under the nationwide vaccination program, through the help of the DOH’s Metro Manila Center for Health Development.
The Parañaque City Health Office also provided the needed medical personnel who will serve at the screening, vaccination, and post-vaccination stations.
Along with the vaccination of transport workers, Tugade also announced that PITX, represented by Megawide Chairman Edgar Saavedra, heeded his call to waive terminal fees for buses and jeepneys at the PITX will starting Monday, 02 August 2021, to cushion the impact of the pandemic on the public transport sector until travel restrictions are eased.
Meanwhile, Parañaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez said the initiative will surely hasten the city’s goal of achieving herd immunity as 250,000 residents have already been vaccinated.
“This help from the DOTr and the IATF is a big step for the city to achieve its goal of herd immunity. Any form of help is welcome and hugely appreciated as the struggle felt by Filipinos due to the pandemic needs to be stopped immediately,” Mayor Olivarez said.
The vaccination program for transport workers will initially be done in Metro Manila and in nearby cities. It will be later implemented in other regions to cover remote areas.