Bishop Patricio Buzon commended the Bacolod City government for its vaccination plans during an online dialog Monday.
“I congratulate you for this beautiful roadmap towards the recovery of the City in this pandemic. I would like to reiterate our great willingness to cooperate with the City because you are the ones that have the capability to have something done as regards the pandemic,” Buzon said.
The online dialog with members of the Bacolod clergy was led by Mayor Evelio Leonardia, Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran, Emergency Operations Center executive director Em Ang, and other city officials.
Leonardia presented a status report on the Covid containment efforts taken by the City since the pandemic started, the current situation where Covid cases are again on the rise, and the vaccination rollout plans when more vaccines will become available within the next three months, a press release from the city said.
In response to the presentation, Buzon said, “Thank you very much for all the dedication and service you gave to us, the people here in Bacolod. I see that this is possible because of the great teamwork you have with your Council and for the great public service you are doing for us.”
Buzon also said that while he had some skepticism in the beginning because of news reports regarding the vaccine rollout at the national scene, he said he now feels assured that on the local level, the city government has its vaccination program well in hand.
He commended the city officials for the clear plan on how to reach the target of vaccinating 70 percent of the city’s vaccinable population to attain herd immunity status after learning that the 650,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine preemptively ordered by the City in a tripartite agreement with the national government, will already take care of 76 percent of the target population, leaving only some 199,984 doses still to be sourced from the national government.
“As presented, the vaccination plan is doable and you have a clear plan on how to reach the target. I am happy to know even before the vaccine arrives that we are already training and preparing those who will administer these vaccines,” Buzon said.
He assured the city officials that the Diocese will help in the education campaign on Covid vaccination.
“Our Holy Father had been vaccinated months ago. The Church is committed to vaccination because we believe that, as of now, that is the only solution to the pandemic,” he said. “We have been praying, through our Oratio Imperata, asking for a cure for this pandemic, and now there is a cure, this vaccine. We should be thankful to the Lord for hearing our prayer and that a cure has come.”
On an inquiry from the clergy about the safety of the vaccines, Drs. Chris Sorongon and Edwin Miraflor Jr., deputies for medical at the Bacolod EOC, said that while Covid has led to thousands of deaths worldwide, there have been no recorded mortalities attributed directly to the use of the various vaccines among the hundreds of millions already vaccinated in the advanced countries of the world.
Miraflor, as OIC city health officer, also said, “Although the vaccines are relatively new, they offer hope in fighting Covid. We all know that vaccines have been subjected to clinical trials. We can assure that these are safe and can fight severe manifestations of Covid. Let us inform our churchgoers that in addition to observing minimum health protocols, getting vaccinated is added protection for us all.”
Leonardia also thanked the Diocese of Bacolod, through Buzon, for positively responding to the appeal of the city government for stricter implementation of minimum health protocols against Covid during the Holy Week observance.
This support and cooperation from the Diocese not only greatly helped in containing the current spike in cases but also inspired city officials to keep on going during difficult times like these, he said.
Also attending the dialog were Councilor Cindy Rojas, chair of the Action Team on Non-OFW Returning Residents, Councilor Renecito Novero – chair of the Quarantine Centers Action Team, Councilor Israel Salanga – chair of the Action Team on Returning OFWs, Councilor Dindo Ramos – chair of the Economic Stimulus Team, Councilor Ayesha Joy Villaflor – chair of the Action Team on APORs, EOC deputy for medical Dr. Anna Ma. Laarni Pornan, who also heads the CDRRMO, and executive assistant Teresa Manalili.*