Senator Pia Cayetano has urged the National Task Force Against COVID-19 to include informal sector workers in the priority list of vaccine recipients under the government’s vaccination program.
“Ang ating informal sector, ‘yung sari-sari store [sellers] and street vendors, nakikisalamuha sila sa iba’t ibang mga tao araw-araw,” Cayetano said at the continuation of the Senate inquiry on the national vaccination plan on Friday.
“I just wanted to be sure because I didn’t see them in the priority list. Even the informal sectors in the tourism [industry]–yung nagbebenta ng [souvenirs] pati na rin yung mga masahista. I think they are very vital to the stability and improvement of our economy,” she added.
Responding to Cayetano, national task force deputy chief implementer Vince Dizon said that workers in the informal sector, particularly the vendors, are considered part of the indigent Filipino sector which, he said, will be accorded “higher priority, even above the essential workers.”
“Informal workers would definitely be covered in the priority sectors,” he assured.
Based on the initial list presented by Dizon, priority recipients include frontline healthcare workers, senior citizens, indigents, uniformed personnel, teachers, and social workers.
He noted that various technical working groups in the vaccine cluster are still working with the Department of Trade and Industry and Department of Labor and Employment to have a definitive list of priority essential workers.
Essential workers include the workforce in the sectors of agriculture, forestry, fisheries, transportation, construction, food, tourism, essential retail, water refilling stations, laundry services, logistics and courier services, sanitation services, communication, energy, power, and fuel.
Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez, Jr. clarified in the same hearing that the target date for the country’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout is still on February 20. #