120K MEPZ workers included in free COVID vaccine rollout – Lapu-Lapu mayor
LAPU-LAPU CITY, Philippines — One hundred twenty thousand (100,200) operators and workers from the Mactan Export Processing Zone (MEPZ) in Lapu-Lapu City will now be included in the free coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccination rollout.
This was confirmed by Lapu-lapu City Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan during the visit of Brigadier General Charito Plaza, director-general of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) on Monday, May 31, 2021.
Chan said that these workers would be master listed and would be scheduled for vaccination by the City Health Department, through Project Balik Buhay (PBB).
“Kani sila, naa tay mga private hospital within Lapu-Lapu City, adto sila magpa-vaccine,” Chan said.
(We have private hospitals withing Lapu-Lapu City and that is where these people would be vaccinated.)
The mayor said that some locators from MEPZ had already vaccinated 50 percent of their workers, while some were still ongoing.
He said that he would still prioritize senior citizens and persons with comorbidities working from MEPZ.
Plaza, for her part, has expressed her gratitude for the support of the mayor in granting free vaccination to economic zone workers.
She said that they would want to lessen the burden of MEPZ locators since in their previous policy, locators would have to buy the vaccines for their workers and even donate doses of vaccines to the host local government unit (LGU).
“We are asking our LGU host nga dili na nato papaliton og COVID vaccine ang atong mga locators. Kay didto man gud sa Luzon, sa Metro Manila, dunay nag-encourage nga mga grupo nga papaliton gyud nila ang mga investors nga mopalit og vaccine para sa ilang mga workers, unya mo-donate pa gyud sa host LGU,” Plaza said.
(We are asking our LGU host not to let the locators buy the COVID vaccine because in Luzon, in Metro Manila, there are groups there who are calling for investors to really buy the vaccine for the workers and also donate to the host LGU.)
Plaza said that the government should be grateful to them for not closing or stopping their operations since they were considered as one of the economic drivers in the country.
She said that in Lapu-Lapu City alone, the three economic zones had contributed P255 million in the city’s coffers last year for their business taxes.
She said that this was even on top of the real property tax that the city had collected.
“Kami sa PEZA, hatagan gyud namo ug full business assistance and reliefs ang atong mga investors kay once manghawa ni sila, kay they cannot feel the support sa government, both national and local, ma-discourage ni sila. Mobalhin gyud ni sila,” she added.
(We at PEZA, we always give full business assistance and relief to our investors because once they cannot feel the support of the national and local government, then they will feel discouraged. Then they will leave.)
She said that they also appealed to the Secretary Michael Dino of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV) to also include in the free COVID vaccination all economic zone workers in the Visayas, and not just Lapu-Lapu City.
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