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Bishops on Covid-19 vaccine offer: Help the poor first

Bishops on Covid-19 vaccine offer: Help the poor first

Bishop Honesto Ongtioco of Cubao. PHOTO COURTESY OF ARAH JODELLE JAMANDRA/CUBAO MEDIA

By CBCP News

January 18, 2021

Manila, Philippines

Metro Manila’s Catholic bishops declined a free offer for Covid-19 vaccine to give way for those who need it most– the poor.

Bishop Honesto Ongtioco of Cubao revealed that someone offered to sponsor vaccines for them and their priests but they decided that help must go first to the vulnerable sectors.

“Since we are considered frontliners… someone offered to the NCR (National Capital Region) bishops and priests vaccine and it will be sponsored,” Ongtioco said.

“We are grateful for the offer but we said we would be happy if it will be given to the poor first because they have no means to pay,” he said.

Bishop Broderick Pabillo of Manila echoed Ongtioco’s statement, saying the poor deserve more attention and care.

“Priority should be given to frontliners and the vulnerable instead of priests,” Pabillo said.

And as far as the archdiocese is concerned, the bishop said that Covid-19 vaccination of priests will be voluntary.

“That’s their own decision,” he added.

As of now, the country is in talks with various pharmaceutical firms about Covid-19 vaccine.

Under the vaccination program laid out by the national government, priority is given to medical workers, senior citizens, indigents, and the uniformed personnel.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has earlier asked the government to ensure that the vaccination program is accessible to all.

The bishops also said that vaccines produced must be in line with ethical principles and should be administered respecting each person’s “moral decisions”.

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