Speech by President Ferdinand R. Marcos at the Launching of Bivalent Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Vaccines

Event Launching of the Bivalent COVID-19 Vaccination
Location Philippine Heart Center, Quezon City

Thank you very much for your kind introduction and remarks, Secretary Ted – [Please take your seats] Secretary Ted Herbosa of the Department of Health.

Quezon City Mayor, Mayor Joy Belmonte, who was saying that her vaccination rate of 84 percent was unsatisfactory and I was just telling her it’s a very good number and we should congratulate her for having managed to do that.

Now, we call upon her again and all the local government units to bring those who are in the vulnerable category. Hindi ko na lang sasabihin ‘yung mga may edad kasi kasama na ako doon. So, but back to encourage all of them to get this bivalent vaccine; the Philippine Heart Center Executive Director Joel Abanilla; my fellow workers in government; ladies and gentlemen, good morning.

Every time I address our frontline workers, our health workers, I always begin with a big thank you to all of you for all the sacrifices you did during the height of the pandemic, for all the work that you put in that saved millions – and I’m not exaggerating here – millions of Filipino lives.

And furthermore, the risks that you knowingly took to continue your work to treat those who had come down with COVID, in whatever way… Kulang lahat, kulang ang PPE, wala tayong vaccine, wala tayong lahat ng kailangan… Hindi natin naiintindihan.

I can speak of this intimately as I was a victim and that’s why I know the condition that patients felt and what a relief and what a godsend your care was to all of those who had suffered from COVID. So, once again, thank you, thank you, thank you very much for all that you did. [applause]

It is an honor for me to speak to you today as we have attempted to emerge from the global pandemic and walk onto the clear path of recovery.

We have been praying that the COVID-19 pandemic will soon be over and in a way our prayers have been answered because the incidence of COVID-19 amongst our populace, especially since the vaccines came into play, have certainly decreased. And even the symptoms that we suffer are no longer as severe as they were with the original onset of COVID-19. And then coming on to the Delta and the Omicron variants, we have seen slowly, slowly, slowly that this danger has gone away – has almost completely gone away.

However, these new variants forces to once again re-examine what it is that we can do to help protect our populace. And that is why we are now here today to highlight this extremely important program once again, vaccination program, which we are going to have to institute because although the general populace – these symptoms have lessened, hospitalizations have lessened, even the incidence of mortality has lessened.

However, there is a very distinct group that is highly vulnerable to these new variants. And that is what we are vaccinating for. That vulnerable group are those with severe comorbidities and with those who are senior, our senior citizens.

And so we must not let our guard down. Although the rest of society, the other sectors of our society have tried to move on and say the emergency is over and certainly in a way we can say that that is the case.

However, it is not over completely. And that is why we should not be complacent and that is why we institute programs like this which continue to seek to protect our vulnerable populace, our vulnerable sectors of our populace and that particular demographic in this case is that of the elderly.

But rest assured that with the use of science-based strategies and a whole-of-society approach, these risks will remain manageable. It cannot be denied that vaccines have played an integral role in our fight against COVID-19.

And so that is why it is important that I come to be with you as we launch the Bivalent Vaccination campaign of the Department of Health (DOH), as we strive to finally eradicate severe disease from COVID-19.

It is only fitting that we are joined here by our friends and partners from around the world who have provided invaluable assistance to the country during the pandemic.

The Philippines conveys its gratitude to the Government of the Republic of Lithuania for the generosity and their donation of the country’s first batch of bivalent vaccines.

I am hopeful that we will further deepen our cooperation in such areas both our great nations, as well as sustain this bond of friendship that we have strengthened now.

Rest assured that this government under this Administration treasures that special relationship and your act of generosity today will certainly not go unnoticed or ever be forgotten.

On behalf of the Filipino people, I also express gratitude to the WHO and the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) for the continuing assistance that we have received in the Philippines during and even after the pandemic.

Last month, on the 5th of May, the entire global population welcomed a significant world-wide victory when the WHO proclaimed the end of COVID-19 as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

We certainly owe a debt as well to our vaccine manufacturers, our scientists, our healthcare workers, and everyone who gave so much, so that the world could return to a state of normalcy.

Let this occasion serve as a call to every Filipino to continue doing your part [and] get updated on your COVID-19 vaccination to prevent a resurgence, as a means of honoring those who sacrificed their lives during the pandemic.

I thus appeal to everyone, especially those who have yet to receive their primary series of vaccinations, to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

This is not for your own good alone but also for the protection of your families and the general public.

Government-assisted vaccines, including the bivalent doses, are free for every Filipino.

So under the leadership of our newly appointed DOH Secretary, I expect that the DOH will continue to fortify its efforts to protect the Filipino public against all health risks.

I would also like to thank of course our tireless officials and employees in our local government units, on whom the load has fallen, on whose shoulders the load has fallen when it comes down to the grassroots level. Of course, our healthcare workers, other national government agencies, all of whom were involved and I thank them  for their dedication to the country’s vaccination campaign.

I urge all of us to remain relentless in our fight against COVID-19 and all other infectious diseases that threaten the country.

As long as we exhibit discipline, observe cleanliness, and practice cooperation, we will overcome the residual challenges that still are posed by COVID-19 and emerge stronger than ever as members of a healthy, resilient, and productive Philippine society.

May the Almighty God continue to bless us with His divine protection and grace.

And I thank you all very much once again for your service and I thank you once again for rising up to this challenge and taking on this new program of bivalent vaccination for our populace.

Magpabakuna na po kayong lahat at magpabakuna na po tayo para hindi na tayo magkasakit, makabalik tayo sa trabaho nang mas mabilis, at lahat ng nais nating gawin ay magagawa natin dahil tayo ay ligtas sa sakit.

Kaya’t mabuhay ulit ang trabaho ng Department of Health. Mabuhay ang mga Pilipino! Mabuhay tayong lahat!

Maraming, maraming salamat po sa inyong lahat. [applause]


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SOURCE: PCO-PND (Presidential News Desk)