No Return to Pre-Pandemic Normal Until 2023
The Philippines continues to live in fear. Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr said he hopes to restore normalcy in the lives of Filipinos by 2023. That’s three years since the pandemic started! This is a shocking prediction from the Philippines Vaccine czar, who is not a medical authority. He’s a former Army General. A lockdown has been in place for over 303 days. The madness continues.
Moreover, the President Duterte’s presidential security group already received illegally smuggled vaccines back in September 2020. The first batch of coronavirus vaccines is only set to arrive in the Philippines next month.
Meanwhile, neighbors Singapore and Indonesia already have their coronavirus vaccination drives underway.
Filipinos Warned not to be “Picky”
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque is berating Filipinos. He’s scolding those not willing to take the vaccines when they finally become available. Roque said that the public couldn’t be “picky.” They should take whatever vaccine brand is offered to them.
Furthermore, Roque said those who refuse a particular vaccine would have to go to the end of the line and wait for another vaccine. The Presidential Spokesperson was targeting senior citizens and poor people. Those two groups supposedly have priority on receiving the vaccines.
Never mind that the Philippines government is relying on 25 million doses of a vaccine from China to arrive first. Who would trust a vaccine from China?
I certainly wouldn’t.
In addition, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles echoed Roque’s threat. On Tuesday, Norgrales similarly warned Filipinos. He said they would be forfeiting their priority slots if they choose not to take government-acquired vaccines.
Chinese Vaccine Least Effective
The Chinese vaccine, Sinovac, only has a 50% effectiveness in some clinical trials. A recent Pulse Asia survey found that 47% of Filipinos are not willing to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Why would I choose a brand with only 50% efficacy against other brands with 79% and/or 95% efficacy?” Sen. Ping Lacson said.
“Stop threatening. Stop cramming [vaccine] preferences down people’s throats. The Palace only adds to the public anxiety that is evident in surveys. Distrust is a threat to the success of the national vaccination plan,” Senator Risa Hontiveros said.
“The public should be reassured, not threatened,” Hontiveros added in Filipino.
OCTA Group, the Philippines Doom Patrol
OCTA Research is a group of independent researchers composed primarily of University of the Philippines faculty members and alumni.
In October 2020, the faction was asked to send their recommendations privately to the President. The organization had been in effect; mandating what community quarantine level should be in effect throughout the Philippines.
Clearly, that is not within the organization’s authority. The COVID-19 Task Force and President Duterte issue the quarantine level guidelines.
I call OCTA the “Doom Patrol” of the Philippines. This group doesn’t focus on recoveries and the lower daily number of COVID-19 cases in the PH. They seem hell-bent on spreading gloom and doom.
Frankly, their negativity and apocalyptic pronouncements seem to be a plea for attention. It seems to be an excuse to get their names in the newspapers or their talking heads on television.
“The Sky is falling, the Sky is falling!”
OCTA began predicting 4,000 daily cases of COVID-19 by the end of January 2021 last December.
Daily cases in the Philippines have been averaging less than half that number since the start of 2021.
I cannot fathom why the print and TV media continue to cover this group’s predictions. Information from the Philippine Dept. of Health, DOH, comes in daily. DOH is the official source of COVID-19 information in the Philippines.
I mute the TV whenever their main spokesperson, Dr. Guido David, pops up on the screen. I believe they should report on positive developments against the coronavirus instead of their end time’s scenario.
Reminds me of Chicken Little, another prophet of doom, and his “sky is falling” routine.
Tourism in the Philippines Plummets
Meanwhile, from January to December 2020, the Philippines only received 1,323,956 foreign visitors. That’s a decline of 83.97 percent from the over eight million arrivals in the same period in 2019, according to DOT data.
Total receipts generated from inbound tourism in 2020 registered an estimated PHP 81.40 billion. That’s a decline of 83.97 percent from the 8,260,913 in the same period in 2019.
With the continued lockdowns and bans on travelers from foreign countries continuing into 2021, it doesn’t look like 2021 will be a banner year for tourism in the Philippines either.
Galvez’s shocking prediction doesn’t help.