MAY 13, 2021
The BPO Industry Employees Network hits the snail-paced vaccination program of the Duterte administration after Philippine Vaccination Tracker revealed that daily distribution is pegged at around 65,000 dosages per day while the national target is 500,000 per day. The group continue to assert for inclusion in the vaccination program in the A4 priority group.
“Before the DOH released the guideline for the A4 priority group, we appealed to be included. But we were left out. Amid the COVID-19 breakouts documented thru our independent monitoring and the risk that onsite BPO workers face to contract the virus, we re-echo our appeal to be included in the A4 priority group. We likewise remind the government to act swiftly in the distribution of vaccines and inoculation as we heard that 1.5 million doses of Astrazenica are set to expire at the end of June and additional 500,000 doses in July.” averred by Sarah Prestoza, BIEN VP Externals
The group was dismayed by the non-inclusion of BPO workers in the vaccination program. Considered as economic frontliners, the BPO industry remained operational despite varying degrees of community lockdown classification in NCR and nearby provinces.
“We are called economic frontliners but we do not feel it. That’s why we are being critical and doing our best to amplify our voice to be heard by the government. BPO workers deserve to be included in the A4 priority group. At the same time, the government must speed up its distribution and inoculation so vaccines won’t go to waste. There are sectors like us that are waiting in vain to be vaccinated while BPO workers and the industry strive to keep the economy afloat. Plus, to achieve herd immunity, medical experts suggest to increase its current daily target per dose and accelerate its vaccination program.” Prestoza added.
The group documented an alarming hike of COVID-19 positive cases or outbreaks in different IT-BPO hubs from January 2021 to the present:
1. Baguio – 255 cases
2. Iloilo – 105 cases
3. Bacolod – 41 cases
4. Clark, Pampanga – 27 cases
5. Bacoor, Cavite – 14 cases
6. Quezon City – 511 (105 – QC residents, 406 – living outside of QC)
7. Other parts of NCR – 40
“BPO workers do not work face to face with our clients but it doesn’t mean we are immune from the virus especially those who are working onsite. Not all clients and accounts permit work at home arrangements. In this sense, it is imperative for BPO workers to be included in the A4 priority group and recognize our valuable contribution to national economy. Seemingly, there are sufficient doses of vaccines to inoculate the 1.3 million BPO workers in the whole country. It’s just a matter of formulating the right policy and then execute the vaccination and distribution plan with a sense of urgency.” Preztosa ended.
The group also sent a letter to DOH Secretary, Dr. Francisco Duque, to assert and appeal for the inclusion of BPO workers in the A4 priority group. However, they have not receive any reply yet.###