The Bureau of Customs said Wednesday it has began preparing for the arrival of approved vaccines for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) into the country.
The Port of NAIA and other ports of entry have been coordinating with concerned agencies for the prompt release of vaccines once it arrives.
“The Port of NAIA has started last January 13 to 14 its coordination with concerned government agencies, facilities and regulatory agencies aimed at expediting the release of the vaccines upon their arrival,” Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero said in a statement.
“Other ports are also in the process of completing their own respective coordinations to discuss protocols, permits and facilities necessary to expedite release of the approved vaccines,” Guerrero added.
The Customs bureau plans to utilize its one-stop shop in processing the influx of vaccines into the country.
According to Guerrero, the use of one-stop shop was proven to be successful during the height of the pandemic when personal protective equipment (PPE) were “released in a systematic and expeditious manner to contain the spread of the deadly virus.”
The one-stop shops are expected to be more efficient this time around with the Port Customer Care Centers (CCC) now fully operational with online systems more accessible to the public.
“The Bureau also aims to intensify efforts against illegal and smuggled vaccines. Enhanced data gathering and coordination with law enforcement agencies are underway to crackdown on smuggled vaccines,” the commissioner said.
“Amidst reports of black market vaccines being distributed and administered in the country, the Bureau remains committed in seizing such items and apprehending unscrupulous individuals,” he added.