To be or not to be vaccinated is the question we will soon have to face. This war against the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is moving in humanity’s favor, as the global collaboration to develop safe and effective vaccines ramps up.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are currently more than 50 COVID-19 vaccine candidates in trials. Scientists, business and global health organizations have collaborated with the WHO to speed up the pandemic response.
While the vaccines are being rolled out, we must continue the essential public health actions to suppress transmission and reduce mortality. Our face masks and other protective gear shield us from this invisible opponent, and testing keeps us from spreading the virus and contaminating others. This virus war is far from over, so we all need to keep our battle gear on and stay alert.
Last week, the main topic at the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the newest Wilcon Depot branch was the vaccines. Wilcon Depot, my favorite one-stop-shop home store, successfully opened their 65th retail store in Capitol, Commonwealth, located at Lot 946-C Feria Rd., Barangay Matandang Balara, Quezon City.
Haven for homeowners
The spacious three-story outlet is a truly exceptional haven for homeowners and builders alike, offering a wide variety of home improvement and construction supplies. All valued Wilcon customers can experience the satisfaction of shopping in Wilcon daily from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Lucky shoppers that opening day got Wilcon’s exclusive 5-percent discount on all their items with their opening day sale.
The retail giant acknowledges the evolving needs of Filipino homeowners and builders. The store is designed to be a friendly shopping destination perfect for home improvement junkies, home designers, builders, DIYers (do-it-yourself), condo dwellers and new customers.
Shoppers can choose from a wide array of product selections including tiles, sanitary wares, plumbing, furniture, home interior, building materials, hardware, electrical, appliances and other DIY items.
For several years now, I have proudly been the brand ambassador of Wilcon Depot, so whenever possible, I am present for the ribbon-cutting ceremonies of their new branches. I am looking forward to attending more as Wilcon is targeting to open eight more stores this year.
Wilcon Depot president and CEO Lorraine Belo-Cincochan shared their store expansion campaign #FlyingHighTo100, where they aim to have a 100-strong store network by 2025. She added that Wilcon’s intention to bring their products and services closer to more Filipinos across the country is truly on target.
Together with Lorraine, Wilcon Depot SEVP-COO Rosemarie Ong joined the local government officials of Quezon City and esteemed industry partners and suppliers for the simple but momentous opening ceremony. With this pandemic going on, all openings are short and sweet and done in a few minutes.
At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, I had the chance to discuss vaccines with Mayor Joy Belmonte. She gave me so much insight on the rolling out and crucial distribution of the vaccine shots, and pointed out that we are only safe if everyone around is protected, too.
Unfortunately, in the vaccine distribution list, I am at the bottom of the priority list of candidates. Fortunately, I have a fairly healthy lifestyle to keep me virus-free. Thankfully, all the supplements and vitamins of Usana that I take daily have kept my immune system strong as we all fight this deadly virus from within.
As I read and watched how millions of people are getting vaccinated in the United States and Europe, I felt a glimmer of hope when I learned that the Asian Development Bank (ADB) once again is at the forefront of helping the Philippines manage through the COVID crisis. On Feb. 1, ADB announced that it has allocated $25 million to help the government procure vaccines for COVID. This $25 million is part of the larger $125 million funding commitment to the Philippines to address COVID-19.
ADB’s vaccine initiative
The funding for vaccine initiative will follow eligibility requirements of the ADB, which include direct payments by ADB to vaccine manufacturers and adherence to ADB’s anticorruption and integrity policy, procurement rules and safeguard measures. The well-intentioned funding from ADB will allow the government to pay for the vaccines in advance to ensure delivery this year. I am praying for the successful implementation of this project!
As always, it is reassuring that ADB stands by its strong commitment to the Philippines with even more projects under way. “Vaccination is the next critical step to protect lives and promote livelihood opportunities,” said ADB president Masatsugu Asakawa. “We stand ready to support the government in these unprecedented times and help the economy navigate back to its prepandemic growth path.”
But for now, we can’t be certain if or when a COVID-19 vaccine will be available. That is why we must not rely on a future vaccine to fight this pandemic. We must use all the tools we already have at our disposal, such as testing, contact tracing, physical distancing and the use of masks.
And life goes on! February is a really special month with all the wonderful birthdays and new babies. On Feb. 1, our wedding inaanak couple Jay and Kyla Laurel had their first child and named her Barcelona Élan Olives Laurel. Feb. 5 is my mother-in-law Cynthia Valdes’ birthday, and she turned a wise and strong 85. The next day, Feb. 6, was our daughter-in-law Tinkay Crespo Prieto’s birthday that we celebrated quietly with the family.
Tomorrow, we are all looking forward to celebrating the first birthday of our grandson, Louie Malachi Crespo Prieto. Our blessing and silver lining this pandemic came in God’s perfect timing. Our youngest and most treasured blessing continues to bring us endless joy and happiness and so much hope for a brighter future!