Marcos asks LGUs to support booster campaign to ensure safe in-person classes

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has called on local officials to support the government’s COVID-19 booster campaign in order for face-to-face classes to resume safely and for the economy to fully reopen.

“I hope that you will be part of the effort that we have to bring us back to normal. This is really part of the effort to bring us back to normal,” Marcos said in a virtual address to newly elected governors and city mayors on Friday.

Marcos is currently in isolation after he tested positive for COVID-19.

In his message, the President stressed the importance of in-person learning for students as well as opening up the economy with people not worrying about the reimposition of lockdowns.

“Gawin natin itong booster rollout at makakatiyak tayo [na] wala nang lockdown at ayaw na ayaw na naming magkaroon ng lockdown. Kaya’t ito naman ang magiging pang-counter natin diyan sa pagkalat na naman nitong Omicron and its variants,” Marcos said.

(Let’s implement this booster rollout to ensure that there will be no more lockdowns since we no longer want lockdowns to be imposed. This will be our countermeasure against the spread of Omicron and its sub-variants.)

The President also urged officials of the local government units to help agencies replicate the massive COVID-19 vaccine rollout conducted last year.

He also wants LGUs to conduct large-scale immunization drives for booster shots targeting schoolchildren so they can safely go back to school.

Marcos said Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte plans a phased return to face-to-face classes, starting initially with a two-day or three-day weekly class schedule.

The President said that if the massive vaccination drive becomes successful, the government could allow children to return to full face-to-face classes and open the rest of the economy, which could send a signal to the rest of the world that the Philippines is opening up for business.

At the same time, the government may consider relaxing the alert level and making masking optional.

“Pero hindi po natin gagawin ‘yan hanggang maliwanag na maliwanag na safe na talaga. Dahil although so far maganda naman ang takbo, hindi naman napupuno ang mga ospital. Ngunit kung hindi tayo maingat, mapupunta na naman tayo doon,” the President said.

(But we can’t do it yet until it’s clear that it’s already safe. Although so far it seems fine and our hospitals are not full, we should still be careful so we avoid going back to the same situation as before.)

On Tuesday, Marcos said the DepEd is looking to start face-to-face classes in some schools in September before holding 100% in-person schooling by November.

Among the highlights of Friday’s event included the briefing by the Department of the Interior and Local Government on LGU’s efforts on booster administration; the DepEd’s presentation on the resumption of face-to-face classes; and the Department of Health’s (DOH) plan on vaccination mobilization. —VBL, GMA News

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