MINERVA BC NEWMAN
CEBU CITY — The Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV) kicked off its Visayas-wide vaccination campaign with the sharing of the COVID-19 Vaccination Operations Center (VVOC) Manual in Eastern Visayas during the ceremonial rollout in Catarman town, Northern Samar on May 3.
OPAV Undersecretary Anthony Gerard Gonzales assured the various local government units (LGUs) in Eastern Visayas of the National Government’s commitment to fast track the rollout of vaccination.
The COVID-19 VVOC Manual will enhance the capabilities of LGUs in the Visayas region in the implementation of their vaccination programs to boost the government’s vaccination information drive to encourage more Filipinos to get vaccinated, Gonzales said.
“This VVOC Manual ensures that we will be able to achieve an efficient implementation of vaccination. Hopefully, with your support you will be able to tell your constituents to get vaccinated,” he said.
Gonzales also assured LGUs in the Visayas that they are getting their fair share of doses of the COVID-19 vaccines procured by the national government emphasizing the important role of LGUs in the whole-of-nation approach in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.
The success of COVID response in the communities lie within the mayors, the LGUs and not the national government. Gonzales bared that the national government is there to help capacitate the LGUs and provide the necessary technical and logistical support and expertise.
During the meeting, Eastern Visayas mayors also raised the need for LGU chiefs to be included in the inoculation priority list. Gonzales has assured the mayors that this concern has been relayed to Senator Christopher Lawrence Go who chairs the Senate Committee on Health.
“Our mayors are at the forefront in the fight against COVID. Our mayors are frontliners too. So, karapatdapat lang na mabakunahan ang mga mayors natin,” he added.
The mayors lauded Gonzales’ assurance who pointed out that the vaccination of local government heads is an effective way to encourage the citizens to trust the vaccines.
Meanwhile, OPAV is visiting five more provinces in Eastern Visayas after the first leg of the rollout in Catarman town. On May 4, OPAV is rolling out the VVOC Manual in Borongan City, Eastern Visayas. At the Catarman rollout, 13 mayors of Northern Samar and provincial Vice Governor Gary Lavin attended to ceremonial turnover of the VVOC Manual.
The VVOC, which is based in Mandaue City, Cebu, is spearheaded by OPAV secretary Michael Dino, who sent a 20-man team, in coordination with the Department of Health (DOG-7) and Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF)-Visayas for the region-wide rollout in Eastern Visayas.