This fourth-class municipality, although trying hard to secure funds to be able to procure vaccines, will rely on the national government for its coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccination program.
Mayor Aida Macalinao, in an exclusive interview on Tuesday, admitted they have no budget for the purchase of Covid-19 vaccines because they have funded their primary health care project where each resident of this town is entitled to free medicines at PHP2,000 per year.
“Kung ako tatanungin kung halimbawa may pondo kami na sobra, ibibigay natin yan sa pagbili ng vaccines kaya gumagawa tayo ng paraan na makahanap ng pondo para mabigyan ng vaccine ang ating mga kababayang mahihirap lalo na ang mga naghahanapbuhay sa labas (As for me, if we have excess funds, we will allocate that to buy vaccines. Thus, we are looking for funds to provide vaccines to our poor townmates especially those who work outside their homes,” she said.
She said among their priorities are tricycle drivers, market vendors, and others who report to work daily.
Macalinao said she and the Sangguniang Bayan chaired by Vice Mayor Jun Espino have been discussing the vaccination program should they be able to secure enough funds for the purchase of the vaccines.
“Kung may pera, vaccines ang magiging priority pero kailangan maging tiyak kami at maging sapat kasi hindi naman pwedeng magpartial agad kung hindi naman namin matatapos ang programa sa libreng vaccine (If we have money, we will prioritize vaccines but we need to be sure we have enough because we cannot do it partially if we cannot finish the free vaccine program),” the mayor said.
She said somebody promised to help her secure vaccines but she begged off from divulging the identity of the donor.
“Gusto namin maayos muna kung paano paghawak, pag-iimplement at kung saan bibili ng vaccines (We want to make sure on how to implement and where to buy vaccines),” Macalinao said.
If no funds will be available, the municipality will rely on the national government as well as the provincial government.
“Nananawagan kami sa mahal nating Presidente na ideretsong ibagsak na sa local government units para at least ma-implement namin ng maayos at hindi magkakaroon ng delay ang implementation ng vaccination (We appeal to our beloved President to give the vaccines directly to the local government units so that at least we can implement properly without delay the implementation of the vaccination),” the mayor said.
“Magdasal tayo sa Panginoon na sana mapagkalooban tayo ng national government ng maraming bakuna at tumulong sa atin upang maimplementa ang free vaccination program o murang bakuna para sa ating mga kababayan. At sana maging mahigpit sa pagbabantay tungkol sa health protocol (Let us pray to the Lord that the national government will provide us with many vaccines and help us to implement the free vaccination program or cheap vaccines for our countrymen. And hopefully, be vigilant about health protocols),” she added.
Samal is an agricultural town with 14 barangays. It has an annual revenue of more than PHP120 million, with PHP110 million coming from its Internal Revenue Allotment. (PNA)