With the progress in eradicating polio globally due to widespread vaccination, the Rotary Club of Cebu Fuente (RCCF) partnered with the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc. (RAFI) to educate the community on the advantages and benefits of COVID-19 vaccination to bring the country towards herd immunity in a virtual press conference held last Friday, October 1, 2021.
Assistant Governor of Area 1B and the Past President of the RCCF, Maricel Borromeo-Amores, hosted the event with RAFI’s Stakeholder and Communications Manager, Elisabeth Baumgart.
The event highlights the launching of the ‘Pabakuna Na Ta Bai!’ vaccination campaign videos of RCCF, RAFI, ICanServe Foundation Cebu, Rotaract Clubs of Cebu Fuente Community-Based, University of San Carlos, and the University of the Visayas. The videos used the song ‘Pabakuna Ta’ written by songwriter Jude Gitamondoc and sung by Missing Felimon’s Lorenzo “Insoy ” Niñal. The program also highlighted the inspiring story of Cora “Mommy Cora” Clarin, a polio survivor.
Rotary International prioritized ending polio through vaccination, a belief used to achieve the goal of getting through this pandemic.
During the program, Atty. Bernardino T. Amago IV, President of RCCF, gave the opening remarks. Atty. Amago’s message emphasized how we should transcend our sense of community above our self-interest. He continued to encourage the body to inspire more people, if not all, to get vaccinated.
Anna Louisa A. Bumagat, District Governor of Rotary International District 3860, and Mary Anne Alcordo-Solomon, End Polio Now Zone 10A Coordinator and Past District Governor of 3860, were also present during the event.
Bumagat provided details on the involvement of the rotary for both polio and COVID-19 crises. She informed the body that the rotary commits 20 percent of their district-designated fund towards polio eradication and how the members of the rotary volunteered in contact tracing, testing, and educating communities when COVID-19 emerged.
Bumagat motivated everyone to not only campaign to end polio worldwide but also for people to get vaccinated for COVID-19.
Alcordo-Solomon provided updates on polio eradication. She noted how there is progress in the eradication of polio from the first drop of the polio vaccine given to a Filipino child last 1979.
“Hopefully in 2026, the world will be declared polio-free.” She added that the budget for polio was set aside for COVID-19 support at the start of the pandemic.
As of June 30, 2021, there are 42 cases left of polio from 350,000 cases in 1985.
RAFI, along with its partners, has been helping the government including communities affected by COVID-19 since the pandemic in the provision of immediate relief and assistance.
On behalf of RAFI, Baumgart thanked RCCF for partnering with them in promoting vaccination and bringing the country towards herd immunity. She continued by encouraging everyone to get vaccinated if given the opportunity.
RAFI’s Brand Development Group Assistant Vice-President Estee Marie Plunket also thanked the body for their helping initiative to help communities to be able to get vaccinated and learn more about it through IEC campaigns. She continued to encourage everyone to continue achieving the desired number for herd immunity by the end of the year.
Emmie Tesalona, RCCF Immediate Past President, introduced the Rotarians and those who supported the event, including RAFI.
Cora “Mommy Cora” Clarin is a polio survivor who has been helping change the lives of people, especially persons with disabilities, who are vulnerable when it comes to disasters and crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Clarin is a convenor of Cebu Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction Network, the president of Women with Disability Leap for Economic and Social Program-Cebu Chapter or WOW LEAP, vice-president of LEAP of Persons with Disabilities of the Philippines, and the Officer-in-Charge of the Persons with Disabilities Affairs Office in Cordova.
Clarin thanked RAFI and RCCF for destigmatizing persons with disabilities by giving them representation through the event. Clarin stressed the importance of vaccination to reduce the incidence of what happened before with the poliovirus. “I don’t want to repeat history and have anything happen to our children due to COVID-19,” says Clarin.
Cebu Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction Network had been working with RAFI in the information dissemination regarding COVID-19 awareness and vaccination, showing IEC materials in disaster preparedness training.
Clarin shared how they are partnering with RAFI in planning to develop inclusive communication materials to reach the deaf population and how to respond to the identified needs of the persons with disabilities during this pandemic. The data helps to better identify the strategies needed to improve and implement in the vaccination program of the government for persons with disabilities.
“I hope we can work together in this fight against COVID-19 while ensuring that no one will be left behind,” says Clarin.