Velasco reassures gov’t of Lower House support for anti-COVID-19 efforts

Published February 19, 2021, 5:03 PM

by Ben Rosario

Speaker Lord Allan Velasco on Friday, February reassured Malacanang of the support of the House of Representatives to the national government’s efforts to fight the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic that plagued the country in nearly a year now.

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

“This support has been manifested a number of times with the passage of the 2021 national budget, which includes a P72.5 billion allocation for vaccine procurement, as well as the Bayanihan 1 and 2,” Velasco said in statement.

“We are even prepared to pass the Bayanihan 3, which proposes a P420-billion fund for the implementation of much-needed COVID-19 response and recovery interventions, including a P25-billion budget for COVID-19 treatment and vaccines,” the House leader stressed.

He also noted that the Lower Chamber moved quickly to pursue the passage of House Bill 8648 which seeks to fasttrack the acquisition of COVID-19 vaccine supply.

HB 8648 provides exemptions for local government units from the stringent provisions of Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Act.

Certified as an urgent administration by President Duterte, HB 86548 is expected to pass second and third reading approval in the next regular session.

“As soon as we were apprised that the indemnification fund is a requirement of the vaccine manufacturers, we wasted no time in filing House Bill 8648, which would allow emergency procurement of vaccines and provide the required indemnification fund,” said Velasco.

He added: “With President Rodrigo Roa Duterte certifying the measure as urgent, the House is expected to approve HB 8648 on second and third reading by Monday.” “Rest assured that the House will continue to pass legislation that would help sustain the national government’s efforts in addressing the pandemic, so we can all return to normal at the soonest possible time,” the House leader said.