Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has called on the government to urgently create a national vaccinee database in the country following reports that the vaccination cards issued by the Philippine government to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) will not be honored by Hong Kong authorities.
De Lima said the lack of a central database for the vaccinees represents an “unforgiveable oversight” on the part of the Duterte administration and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).
“The DICT must act on this national vaccinee database at once. Wala na ngang hanapbuhay ang ating mga kababayan dito dahil napilitan na naman tayo mag-ECQ, pati mga OFW natin ay tatanggalan pa natin ng pagkakataong magtrabaho,” she added.
In a Twitter post last Aug. 10, Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. announced that the vaccination cards issued by the Philippine government would not be honored by Hong Kong authorities because they did not come from one source.
This may reportedly affect about 3,000 stranded OFWs who were set to return to their employers as the Hong Kong government is expected to lift the travel ban on the Philippines.
The lady Senator from Bicol said the OFWs who are working hard to support their families do not deserve to suffer because of the government’s incompetency.
“Sa dami ng czar na binabayaran ng taumbayan para pamahalaan ang ating vaccination program, wala man lang nakaisip kahit isa na gumawa ng national database? Dahil dito, maraming OFW natin ang hindi makapagtrabaho. Bakit kailangan magdusa ang ating mga kababayan dahil sa kapabayaan ni Duterte at ng kaniyang gobyerno?,” she asked.
“Dapat siguro, unahin muna ni Duterte ang kapakanan ng ating mga kababayan bago ang pagtingin sa mga lumang picture ng isang Mayor sa NCR,” she added.
In the meantime, De Lima stressed that Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Labor and Employment need to “exert all diplomatic efforts to come up with even temporary solutions that would allow our OFWs to return to work.” (30)