PASAY CITY – Around 1,500 frontline workers of the One-Stop Shop for the Management of Returning Overseas Filipinos (OSS MROF) at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) receive their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine today, 02 June 2021.

Frontline workers of the OSS MROF at the NAIA Terminals 1, 2, and 3, were administered with the COVID-19 vaccine as the government starts to roll out the vaccination of individuals under the A4 category. People in the A4 category are identified as frontline personnel in essential sectors, including uniformed personnel.

The activity was staged at the NAIA Terminal 4, facilitated by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Bureau of Quarantine, and the Office for Transportation Security (OTS).

The OSS is an ad hoc organization, initiated by the Department of Transportation (DOTr), which aims to assist in the repatriation efforts of the government. This consisted initially of sectoral and attached agencies of the DOTr.

To recall, at the onset of the pandemic, DOTr Secretary Art Tugade, ordered the establishment of helpdesks at the airport to ensure 24/7 assistance to ROFs. This initiative started at the NAIA and eventually replicated in other airports in the country, such as Clark International Airport and Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

“Maituturing nating bayani ang ating mga transport frontliner, dahil mula umpisa ng pandemya, at kahit na may banta sa kanilang kalusugan, sila ay walang takot na sumasalubong at nag-aasikaso ng mga pangangailangan ng ating mga kababayang bumabalik sa bansa hanggang sila ay makarating sa quarantine facility. Nararapat lamang na bigyang prayoridad natin ang proteksyon nila, dahil una nilang ginawang prayoridad ang kapakanan at kaligtasan ng mga kababayan nating sineserbisyuhan nila,” Secretary Art Tugade said.

Meanwhile, OTS Administrator and OSS Head Undersecretary Raul del Rosario underscored the importance of vaccinating OSS frontline workers as soon as possible, in line with the directive of DOTr Secretary Tugade, to protect them against the COVID-19 virus while performing their duty.

"Itong vaccination program for OSS members ay malaking bagay upang mabigyang proteksyon ang ating frontliners na sumasalubong at nag-aasikaso sa mga kababayan nating umuuwi galing abroad. The guidance of Secretary Tugade was to encourage everyone to get vaccinated. And that is our goal today. We work as fast as we can to provide them some sort of immunity from severe COVID-19," Usec. del Rosario said.

"Pinursige natin na mabigyan kami ng priority sa vaccination. Kautusan ito ni Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Art Tugade na tayong mga directly involve in processing arriving passengers should be vaccinated immediately," he added.

Also present during the event was Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager Eddie Monreal, who arrived early to ensure health and safety protocols will strictly be observed at the airport terminal. Likewise present in the event were Bureau of Quarantine Dr. Roberto Salvador Jr., Department of Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Enrico Fos, Maritime Industry Authority Officer in Charge of the Office of the Deputy Administrator for Planning Capt. Jeffrey Solon, PCG Rear Admiral Rolando Punzalan of the Task Force Bayanihan for Returning Overseas Filipinos, PCG Task Group Airport OSS Capt. Eli Ibbarientos, and PCG Commodore Ferdinan Picar, who was the first OSS member to receive the vaccine.