Provincial Indigenous People’s Mandatory Representative (IPMR) Purita J. Seguritan is seeking assistance from concerned government agencies to convince IP communities to get vaccinated against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Seguritan said most IPs are either hesitant or afraid to get vaccinated because of past experiences and misinformation.

“Kasi nagkataon na yung isa may sakit tapos sasabihin, nakaraang buwan nagpa-vaccine yan, yun ang karamihan din ng reason nila na naging dahilan ng kamatayan ng kanilang kamag-anak. Ang suspetsa nila yung vaccine na. kaya ang nangyari, na-discourage sila dahil doon sa pangyayari na namatayan sila,” she said.

She added that what is worse is that the IPs would not want to face representatives from other health care agencies like the Barangay Health Workers (BHW) who conduct other health services such as anti-malaria campaigns.

“Nadadamay yung ibang agency katulad ng malaria, at yung BHW, ayaw na rin harapin at nagtatago na sila. Pag nalaman nila na pupunta sa kanilang komunidad, iniisip nila, huwag kayo magpa-interview dyan kasi i-injectionan kayo ng vaccine nyan,” she explained.

Seguritan said she will have a meeting with provincial health officials regarding the problem. She also said she would file a resolution for an information and education campaign to encourage IP communities to get vaccinated.

“Kasi may mawawala sa inyo o hindi kayo makakakuha ng ayuda kung hindi kayo vaccinated. Isa yun sa campaign natin. At syempre makakalabas sila. Mabuti nga ngayon ay bumaba ang level (ng safety protocols) kaya nakakalabas sila at nakakapunta sa palengke. Pero tina-try pa rin natin na ma-convince sila na magpa-vaccine,” she stated.

Furthermore, she said even food assistance such as rice and other goods cannot convince most IPs to get vaccinated.

“Yung iba, naka-engganyo pero karamihan hindi. May nakakaisip na rin at narinig yung kabutihan ng nagpa-vaccine ka. Pero karamihan, ang sinasabi nila, hindi na bale yang ayuda na yan kung magkakasakit lang din tayo at mamamatay, hindi yan sapat. Kaya mostly, malaki pa rin yung percentage, lalo na doon sa Rizal, ng hindi pa nabakunahan,” she said.

“Medyo mahirap kasi sa ngayon parang wala talaga silang pinapaniwalaan. Basta nakalagay sa utak nila, kahit bigyan mo ng bigas, mas marami yung hindi papansinin. Ang mahirap pa, pati yung ibang chieftain hindi rin vaccinated,” she lamented.

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