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SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau

08 November 2021 12:39:06 PM

Speaker Lord Allan Velasco today said that the government’s aggressive mass vaccination strategy is paying off as the rate of infection dramatically goes down not only in Metro Manila, but the entire country.

In his speech during the first flag-raising ceremony in the House of Representatives in almost eight months, Velasco said the country’s current COVID-19 situation has improved remarkably compared to previous months, thanks to the government’s aggressive vaccination rollout.

“The skies are bluer after the storm. The light brighter after going through a dark tunnel. And even if we are not officially ‘out of the woods’ yet and may have to live with COVID-19 for quite a while, it would seem that the government strategy of aggressive mass vaccination has dramatically brought down the number of mortalities and severe and critical cases of COVID in the country,” Velasco said.

As a result, Velasco said the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases or IATF has approved the de-escalation of the National Capital Region to Alert Level 2 from Alert Level 3 starting last November 5.

Velasco, however, said there should be no room for laxity despite declining COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

“Parang nabunutan po tayo ng tinik sa lalamunan at tila nakahinga tayo nang maluwag matapos ang matagal na panahon ng pagpigil ng hininga. Subalit hindi ito ang panahon ng pagiging kampante. Let us not put our guards down,” Velasco said.

The House chief advised everyone to continue observing health protocols set by health experts especially as more businesses start to reopen and more citizens are allowed to go out.

Also during the event, Velasco announced the official rollout of the HousePass, an innovative system in ensuring the health, safety and security of House members, employees and visitors through the use of QR codes for contact tracing through health declaration forms, entry log-ins and antigen testing.

“We want to ensure that we can all work in a safe and healthy environment,” Velasco said.

The HousePass system, he said, is only part of a wide-ranging technological reform at the House.

“As Speaker of the House at this time of great change in our lives, it is my dream to bequeath these reforms to our House Members, Secretariat officials, and staff so that we all better adapt to the new normal working conditions,” Velasco said.

Velasco pointed out that the House started these innovations through the overhaul of its information technology organization and the implementation of the CongVax program, which enabled the chamber to have safe and efficient vaccinations.

He said foremost among the high-tech improvements is the new HRep ID, which will give members and workers access through the gates and will have a built-in e-wallet through Paymaya.

“It remains an Identification Card but with advanced security features that opens the speedgates found in our building lobbies and it also symbolizes how the House of Representatives is also leading the way in embracing the new digital economy,” Velasco said.

The House chief also cited the improvement of the Security Operations Center and the use of RFID gates and high-tech cameras at the main gates.

He said the turnstiles at the gates and lobbies can also detect body temperature so that those with fevers will not be allowed entry.

Aside from these health and security reforms, Velasco said the House has started implementing its Solar Power project for a more sustainable energy consumption, as well as the water catchment facility for a more sustainable and environment-friendly water consumption.

The Speaker said the House and its workers stand to benefit from these meaningful programs and projects for many years to come.

He also applauded the men and women of the legislative chamber for their “unity and commitment to keep the legislative mill working despite the present public health crisis.”

With all health and security protocols now in place, Velasco urged House members and workers to continue performing their duties and responsibilities to the best of their abilities.

“Let us work; and work better regardless of dark or clear skies. The leadership of the House values your diligence and sacrifice and has engaged these technological reforms, systems improvement, and streamlining processes to ensure your safety and continuous productivity,” Velasco.

“All we ask now is for all of us to work well and to continue to work hard, so we can deliver the kind of public service the Filipino people deserve from the House of Representatives,” he added. #