President Rodrigo Duterte has reminded local and national governments to ensure that the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines they will procure are “safe and effective,” Senator Christopher Lawrence Go said on Thursday.
Duterte made the reminder following the signing of a memorandum allowing the National Task Force against Covid-19, the Department of Health, and local government units (LGUs) to make advance payments exceeding 15 percent of the total contract amount in procuring the vaccines, Go said.
It also came after Duterte certified as urgent the proposed indemnification fund law which seeks to compensate individuals who might experience possible adverse effects of Covid-19 vaccines.
“Bagama’t nagmamadali na po ang ating Pangulo sa pagbili ng mga bakuna, pero pinaalala niya na dapat siguraduhing safe at effective po itong mga vaccines na binibili po ng gobyerno ngayon (While the President wants to expedite the procurement of vaccines, he reminds everyone to make sure the vaccines procured are safe and effective),” Go said in a statement.
Go lauded Duterte’s immediate action in certifying as urgent Senate Bill 2057 and House Bill 8648 which intend to expedite the procurement and administration of Covid-19 vaccines.
He said the legislative branch is committed to helping the executive branch in containing the spread of Covid-19 and reviving the Philippine economy amid the pandemic.
“Importante na maisabatas ito [indemnification fund bill] sa lalong madaling panahon dahil malaking parte ito ng ating National Covid-19 Vaccine Roadmap upang tuloy-tuloy na ang pag-roll out ng mga bakuna sa ating bansa (It is important to pass the measure as soon as possible because this forms part of the National Covid-19 Vaccine Roadmap in order to start the rollout of vaccines in the country),” Go said.
He also praised Duterte for issuing the memorandum order which allows advance payments exceeding 15 percent of the total contract amount in purchasing Covid-19 vaccines.
He said the memorandum would enable LGUs to procure Covid-19 vaccines to supplement the national government’s Covid-19 vaccination program.
“With this Memorandum Order, LGUs allowed to procure Covid-19 vaccines under existing laws and issuances may make advance payments even exceeding the 15-percent limit provided they are authorized to do so by the chief implementer,” he said.
Go stressed the importance of strengthening further mechanisms towards a “whole-of-nation” approach in addressing the challenges of Covid-19 pandemic and uplifting the lives of the people.
He expressed hope that local and national governments would be wise in spending the funds allotted for vaccine procurement.
“The combined bayanihan efforts of the national government, LGUs, and private sector are crucial towards our full recovery,” Go said. “The President has always emphasized that while we are expediting the rollout of vaccines, we must always exercise due diligence and consider the best interests of our people. Especially in times of crisis, every single peso counts.” (PNA)