THE Davao City Government will be opening the 10-day Covid-19 vaccination express lane for 5,000 departing and returning or repatriated migrant workers August 18 to September 2, 2021.
In a press release from the Davao City Information Office, the express lane, which will be at the Matina Town Square (MTS) Compound, Matina, aims to fast-track the vaccination of the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
The vaccination will be open on weekends and holidays.
Davao City Public Employment Service Office (Peso) manager Lilibeth Pantinople said in a radio interview on Wednesday, August 11, that the express lane was requested by Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio after seeing that OFWs are not yet on the priority list of the Department of Health (DOH).
“Based sa experience nasagol siya sa laing category. Dili ni siya makita sa DQR [Safe Davao QR Code], mao jud ni atong gimugna ang vaccination site, aron ma-cater sa OFW (Based on experience, OFWs are not be found yet in the DQR. They are mixed in the different categories. This is why this vaccination site is created to cater to OFWs),” Pantinople said in an interview on 87.5 FM Davao City Disaster Radio.
The Peso official said applicants who will fill out the forms will not automatically qualify because it needs validation by their office in partnership with other agencies.
“Ang Peso ang mu-validate, kay basin daghan nag-atik atik na OFW, we will refer to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (Owwa) for the returnees or repatriate, and to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) because they issue overseas employment certificate for the departing OFWs kung tinuod sila na mugawasay (Peso will validate if applicants are OFWs because there will be people who will claim to be OFWs. We will refer to the Owwa for the returnees or repatriated OFWs and POEA for overseas employment certificate for departing OFWs if they are indeed for departure),” she said.
Owwa officer-in-charge Rey Elaya said his office will validate OFW in their database and those who are not yet in their database may present contracts, termination letters, official receipts as proof that they worked abroad.
Elaya added that there will be a two-day validation of OFWs set on August 16 to 17, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the MTS where OFWs can present their needed documents.
“The pre-vaccination validation will be in two days and during the day of vaccination, we will also place a desk at the site for validation,” Elaya said.
Pantinople said the validation is for returnees who may be lacking requirements. They will be given a certification that they are OFWs. They will present the certification before vaccination.
The head of the Marino Partylist Mindanao Operations Remo Amatong said the seafarers availing themselves of the vaccination are required to present an active Seaman’s book to qualify.
To register for the anti-Covid vaccination, an individual OFW either land-based or sea-based worker must fill out a Google form link available on https://covid19.davaocity.gov.ph/, peso.davaocity.gov.ph, Peso Davao City Facebook page and on the social media pages and websites of partner groups -- Marino Partylist, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (Owwa), Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), and Marina.
All applications for the anti-Covid vaccination will be validated by the Public Employment and Service Office (Peso), in partnership with allied agencies. Once the application is approved, the applicant will be immediately informed. No walk-ins will be allowed.
Covid-19 Task Force spokesperson Dr. Michelle Schlosser said the express lane will be strictly for OFWs only and no other priority sector will be catered to.
Schlosser said this is in response to some OFWs who have been required by their employers to be injected with specific Covid-19 vaccine brands.
"Ang atong mga seafarers, mismong sponsors nila like Marina, have sponsored a vaccine, katong Moderna, para lang gyud sa ilang seafarers (Our seafarers, their sponsors like Marina, have sponsored a vaccine, which is Moderna, for them). The reason why I'd like to confirm it, naay mga countries dili gina-recognize ang isa ka brand -- Sinovac (some countries don't recognize other brands like Sinovac)" Schlosser added.
Most Covid-19 vaccines recognized abroad are Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson.