Senator Cynthia Villar on Saturday commended the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain for giving OFWs vaccine against COVID-19 free of charge.
“We welcome the New Year with hope as more countries including our own prepare their respective COVID-19 inoculation campaigns,” Senator Villar said in a statement.
Villar commended the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for putting up more than 550 vaccination stations in Riyadh with more stations to be set up in all other areas.
“According to Philippine Ambassador Adnan Alonto, the vaccination program against COVID-19 in Saudi Arabia will also cover all our OFWs at the expense of the Saudi government,” the senator said.
According to Villar, Alonoto received his first inoculation with the vaccine developed by Pfizer on December 30.
Meanwhile, Villar said that Bahrain’s health centers have started giving the vaccines every day from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. for free to its nationals and residents, 18 years and above.
Bahraini King Hamad was recently vaccinated against COVID-19 as his government launched the nationwide inoculation campaign.
Bahrain is the second country after Britain to grant emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. It has also approved Sinopharm’s vaccine last November.
Villar said she will ask the Department of Foreign Affairs to report on the progress of COVID-19 vaccination programs in countries with a high concentration of OFWs during the forthcoming Senate committee of the whole inquiry into the government’s own vaccination plans.
“As more countries roll out their respective anti-COVID19 inoculation campaigns, we will see the anxieties of our OFWs and their families ease because the health and safety of our workers will more or less be assured in the coming year,” Villar said.
She said that the government has much to learn from the experience of other countries in rolling out a nationwide vaccination drive.
“The first major step towards economic recovery begins once we are able to successfully roll out our own vaccination program in the Philippines,” Villar said, adding that as more countries roll out their vaccination program, the faster it would be for the global economy to recover.
She said that the Philippines should keep an eye out for economic opportunities that can arise from the slow but steady growth in the global economy by the third and fourth quarters of 2021 as the world recovers from the COVID19 pandemic. —LBG, GMA News