Palace hopes for 2021 as ‘year of healing’

Malacañang is optimistic that a vaccine for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) will become available in the Philippines by the first quarter of 2021, hoping that it will be a “year of healing”.

In his New Year’s Day message released on Thursday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the government has identified geographical and sectoral priorities for vaccination.

“Negotiations and discussions with vaccine manufacturers are ongoing and tripartite agreements with the government, the private sector, and allied governments are now rolling,” he said.

Citing the Philippine National Vaccine Roadmap, he said the earliest rollout of a vaccine is expected in the first quarter of next year.

“We are indeed on track and this gives us a sense of optimism. We hope to see an end to the pandemic and continue the pursuit for a stronger and healthier Philippines,” he said.

He added that these goals would be realized if the government and citizens would work together to achieve this goal.

“Let us, therefore, make the Year 2021 as a year of healing, recovery, and bouncing back. Together and united, we will heal and recover as one,” he said.

Meanwhile, Roque also emphasized the need to welcome the new year with renewed hope, courage, and inspiration as the country bids farewell to 2020 bringing valuable lessons and memories.

“The challenges we faced as a nation in 2020 were daunting but because of the resilient Filipino spirit, we fought and carried on,” he added.

Currently, the government is in Phase 3 of the National Action Plan (NAP) against Covid-19 which is focused on managing health risks, prevention and containment, strict adherence to minimum public health standards, and the establishment and initial rollout of the Covid-19 Vaccine Roadmap.

Several pharmaceutical companies are being eyed by the government for the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines – Pfizer Inc., Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Novavax Inc, Sinovac, and Sputnik V.

Moving forward

In a separate statement, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar acknowledged how the pandemic, as well as calamities, tested Filipinos’ resilience.

“Aside from the Covid-19 pandemic that has affected the entire world, the Philippines has endured calamities and natural disasters that have truly challenged our resilience, our grit, and our bravery as a nation,” he said.

However, he urged the public to see the silver lining amid challenges encountered this year.

“As we reflect on the past year, may we recognize all that we have achieved and accomplished despite the difficult circumstances that we have encountered. May we learn from the lessons brought by these challenges and apply our learning moving forward,” he added.

Andanar is cognizant that the following year will still bring adjustments and some degree of uncertainty brought by the new normal but enjoined the public to stay united amid adversity.

“Although our collective fight is far from over, may we remain firmly united and unyielding in meeting head-on any difficulty that this year holds,” he said.

He also asked the public to remain committed to following all the health protocols and minimum health standards prescribed by our government in celebrating the coming new year.

Currently, Metro Manila, the provinces of Batangas, Isabela, Lanao del Sur, Davao del Norte, and the cities of Santiago, Iloilo, Tacloban, Iligan, and Davao are under general community quarantine (GCQ) until the end of January while the rest of the country is under the least stringent modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).

New Year’s Day is a regular holiday under Proclamation 986.

Source: Philippines News agency

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