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Coordination needed

The National Economic and Development Authority urged local government units to have closer coordination with the national government in coming up with local vaccination plans as several LGUs are now preparing for the rollout of the national vaccination program this month, in coordination with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

The Covid-19 Coordinated Operations to Defeat Epidemic (CODE) initiative was directed through an IATF resolution to strengthen the collaboration between the national government and local government units in ensuring a people-centered approach in addressing the concerns and issues around Covid-19 response and recovery.

Under this initiative, San Juan City – where the first local transmission of the disease was reported in March 2020 – has already put in place a local vaccination plan in which 23,000 of its residents and healthcare workers already registered to receive the vaccine.

Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Chua said a year into the pandemic, it has become imperative for LGUs to help manage pandemic-related risks rather than avoid them completely as continued loss of income puts people in danger of hunger, poverty, and diseases.

“We now know how to live with the virus and not get sick – by wearing masks, frequently washing hands and practicing social distancing. The tradeoff is not between health and economy but between Covid-19 and non Covid-19 threats, such as hunger, poverty, and diseases,” Chua said.

The national strategy to respond to the pandemic should have centered on close coordination between local government units and the national government but one year after, government officials are still issuing motherhood statements while lacking in coordinated responses and concrete action.

LGUs would have coordinated closely with national government if there had been a plan from the very start. Even now that our country’s pandemic response has been rated as among the world’s worst, LGUs still have no choice but to coordinate with national government. Unfortunately for Filipinos, what this country has been needing for past 12 months is a government with a plan.*

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