PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte said he sees the light at the end of the tunnel with the arrival of more Covid-19 vaccines in the country.
The President sounded upbeat in a taped message aired during a vaccine rollout ceremony on Monday for the A4 priority group made up of economic frontliners held at a mall in Pasay City.
Informal workers and those working in households also belong to the group.
"We can now see the light at the end of the tunnel as the vaccine shipments have arrived and have started to arrive in bulk," Duterte said. "With the start of our mass vaccination, the A4 priority category, our workers in both public and private sector, will have an added layer of protection against the disease."
He reminded those who will be inoculated to continue observing public health precautions such as wearing of face masks and face shields, washing hands and physical distancing.
Palace spokesman Harry Roque Jr., who attended the rollout, said the vaccination of about 35 million economic frontliners is a "game changer" in the government's fight against Covid-19.
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the vaccination of economic frontliners is a "shot in the arm" for the economy as well.
Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. lauded the economic frontliners for continuing to work despite the pandemic.
"Kayong lahat ay maituturing na mga bayani dahil sa sipag, dedikasyon at tapang na inyong ipinamamalas sa harap ng krisis pangkalusugan na ito (You are considered heroes because you all displayed hard work, dedication and courage despite the health crisis)," Galvez said.
He said 10 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines will arrive this month and 15 million more in August.
Roque also said the 14-day quarantine period for Filipinos and foreign nationals arriving in the Philippines will be enforced pending an agreement between countries to acknowledge vaccination cards.
On Sunday, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases reduced to seven days the quarantine period for people who have been fully vaccinated in the Philippines.
Under the new rule, those fully vaccinated in the country are exempt from swab tests, unless they exhibit symptoms of Covid-19.
Those vaccinated abroad will still go through the 10-day facility-based quarantine, the four-day home quarantine and a Covid-19 test on their seventh day of quarantine.
Roque said the government has no agreement yet with other countries on how to verify the authenticity of vaccination cards, which are issued to people who have been fully inoculated.
He said there were many requests to forego the quarantine for vaccinated Filipinos returning from trips abroad.
There should be a standard vaccination certificate that will be honored by all countries before the government eases quarantine restrictions for those vaccinated abroad, he said.