With Duterte certifying urgency, passage of Emergency Vaccine Procurement Law seen next week

Published February 18, 2021, 6:37 PM

by Ben Rosario

President Rodrigo Duterte’s issuance of a certification for the swift passage of bills authorizing measures that would fasttrack the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines received applause in the House of Representatives.

Speaker Lord Allan Velasco (Lord Allan Velasco’s Office / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

“We welcome and laud the move of President Rodrigo Duterte allowing our local government units (LGUs) to make advance payment for the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines under a memorandum the Chief Executive has signed,” said Speaker Lord Allan Velasco.

“This is an important step in our fight to defeat the spread of COVID-19 as this allows the speedy procurement of the most effective vaccines by LGUs cognizant that any delay would have serious consequences on how we move forward from this pandemic,” Velasco stressed.

The speaker is the principal author of House Bill 8648 or the Emergency Vaccine Procurement Act of 2021 that proposes to clear hurdles in procurement that are provided under Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Act.

With bipartisan support behind it, passage of HB 8648, the legislative proposal is expected to encounter least resistance to its approval in the Lower House.

The bill has been scheduled for second reading approval next week.

The certification of urgency issued by Duterte will authorize Congress to pass the measure on third and final reading immediately following the second reading approval.

“House Bill 8648, which I introduced in the House of Representatives, seeks to expedite the purchase and administration of vaccines to ensure that all Filipinos, particularly the elderly and those in the marginalized sectors, will be inoculated and protected from the deadly disease,” said Velasco. 

He stated: “The President’s certification of the bill as urgent will also help our LGUs transition to some kind of normalcy as we aim to further open the economy to help the business sector reopen and reemploy those who have been displaced by the pandemic.”