Speech at the turnover of vaccines at St. Luke’s BGC

Hello, good morning to everyone. Thank you. It’s my pleasure to be here. I am truly excited to witness this momentous occasion.

A little background, almost a year ago, we started this journey with COVID. It’s a journey that I wanted to share with you from the perspective of a legislator – as a senator, I’ve always believed that we should never get in the way of science. And I’ve always felt very strongly that it is our job as legislators to work with the experts.

And so it’s really been an honor, and I thank Secretary Charlie [Galvez], Secretary Vince [Dizon], and of course, my brother Lino [Taguig Mayor Lino Cayetano], and national government, local governments officials – through your eyes, we have been able to come up with a legislation.

I strongly believe that we would not be able to come up with legislation without the scientists. We were in contact in the early days, around April, trying to understand what is going on. And every step of the way, I try to be in contact with DOH, with PGH, and although not directly with St Luke’s, but through my brother, I would get the information that comes from pure experiences.

I hate to put it this way, as I have experienced online bashing for saying that I “thank” COVID for the lessons we’ve learned – because there have been lessons. And we would be stupid, it would be a kind of stupidity, not to learn from this. So I end this because the most important thing is for [our medical frontliners] to get vaccinated.

My message is that this doesn’t end with vaccination. It’s just the start of the journey.

[Minutes ago,] I was still in the car [attending] an online hearing on the resumption of school. Many of the young mothers here have kids in school. These kids have been out of school for almost a year. And their mental health, their social skills, their need for peer companionship – these are aspects of child development that we cannot overlook.

And so the more vaccinations we have, the more we can open up. But it’s been a year. So I think, Sec. Charlie, you’ve done your job, you’re rolling it out, let’s now focus on education. Because we really have to have a whole-of-society approach. Thank you for all your hard work. Thank you.

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