A lawmaker urged the government to include the farmers in the priority list for vaccination against COVID-19 since they are “essential workers” who helped the Philippines survive amid the pandemic.
According to Magsasaka party-list Rep. Argel Cabatbat on Tuesday, farmers should receive the same treatment as medical health workers and uniformed personnel as they serve as front liners in the fields and markets.
“All throughout the pandemic, the agricultural sector has fought tooth and nail to help our nation survive. Their dedication, despite the overwhelming odds stacked against them – in government funding and assistance, legislation, and competition – gives them the right to be prioritized for the COVID-19 vaccine,” he said in a statement.
Cabatbat urged that farmers remain to be one of the poorest groups of Filipinos, adding that a “threat to their health is a threat to their livelihoods, and by extension, their family’s and Philippines’ future.”
He added the government should protect the farmers as the country’s food security depend on them.
“I appeal to our national government and relevant authorities to include our farmers in the priority list, for in doing so we send the message that we see them with value, we recognize their importance to the nation, and we will return with gratitude their service to the nation,” he further said.
Solon wants gov’t to prioritize farmers in COVID-19 vaccination
Earlier, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said, “Medical frontliners for NCR (National Capital Region),” would be the first recipients of the China-made COVID-19 vaccines.
The government said the COVID-19 vaccination priority list includes:
- 1st priority: frontline health workers
- 2nd priority: indigent senior citizens
- 3rd priority: remaining senior citizens
- 4th priority: remaining indigent population
- 5th priority: uniformed personnel (PNP, AFP, PCG, BFP, CAFGU)
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the first batch of Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines is expected to arrive in the Philippines next month.
“We sealed the deal with Sinovac for 25 million early 50,000 doses by February, 950,000 March, and 2 to 3 million in succeeding months ’till December with 25 million doses. This is in addition to AstraZeneca as confirmed by Sec. Galvez,” Duque said.