President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. (Photo courtesy of BBM Facebook)

MANILA – President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Friday asked local government units (LGUs) to support the booster campaign rollout in order to safely resume face-to-face classes and fully reopen the economy.

“I hope that you will be part of the effort that we have to bring us back to normal. This is really part of the effort to bring us back to normal,”Marcos said in a virtual speech before newly elected governors and city mayors.

Marcos is currently in isolation after testing positive for Covid-19.

In his message, Marcos stressed the importance of in-person learning for students as well as opening up the economy with people not worrying about reimposition of lockdowns.

Gawin natin itong booster rollout at makakatiyak tayo [na] wala ng lockdown at ayaw na ayaw na naming magkaroon ng lockdown. Kaya’t ito naman ang magiging pang-counter natin diyan sa pagkalat na naman nitong Omicron and its variants,” he told local officials.

He asked them to help agencies in replicating the massive Covid-19 vaccine rollout conducted last year and praised them for the “very, very good job.”

Marcos wants LGUs to conduct large-scale immunization drive for booster shot targeting school children so they can safely go back to school either August or September.

Marcos said Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte plans a phased return to the face-to-face classes, starting initially from two-day, or three-day weekly class schedule.

If the massive vaccination drive becomes successful, the government could allow children to return to full face-to-face classes and open the rest of the economy, which Marcos said could send a signal to the rest of the world that the Philippines is opening up for business.

At the same time, the government may consider relaxing the alert level and make masking optional.

Pero hindi po natin gagawin ‘yan hanggang maliwanag na maliwanag na safe na talaga. Dahil although so far maganda naman ang takbo, hindi naman napupuno ang mga ospital. Ngunit kung hindi tayo maingat, mapupunta na naman tayo doon,” the President pointed out.

Among the highlights of Friday’s event are the briefing presentation by the Department of the Interior and Local Government on LGU’s efforts on booster administration, the Department of Education’s presentation on the resumption of face-to-face classes, and the Department of Health’s plan on vaccination mobilization. (PND)