Go hopeful of swift Senate approval of COVID-19 vaccine procurement bill

Published February 22, 2021, 1:18 PM

by Mario Casayuran

 Senator Christopher “Bong” Go is hopeful that the Senate will be able to pass Senate Bill (SB) 2057 within a week after President Duterte certified the measure as urgent.

Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go

The bill seeks to establish a vaccine indemnity fund and fast-track the procurement of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines, Go, chairman of the Senate health and demography committee, explained.

“Kami naman po, handa kaming talakayin ito at maipasa na kaagad… isa rin po ito sa mga requirements ng mga suppliers (ng bakuna mula) sa ibang bansa (We are ready to tackle and pass it immediately…this is also one of the requirements of the foreign suppliers of vaccine),” Go said during an ambush interview right after he assisted flood victims in Sto. Tomas, Davao del Norte on Saturday, February 20.

Co-sponsored by Go, SB 2057 aims to hasten the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines by allowing local government units to (LGUs) procure vaccines and make advance payments, and to include an indemnification fund to cover the possible expenses and claims arising from adverse effects of the vaccines.

SB 2057 proposes the creation of a COVID-19 National Vaccine Indemnity Fund which will be administered by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) and will be sourced from the 2021 national budget’s Contingent Fund.

“Kaya tayo naiipit dahil maraming mga requirements (sa pagkuha ng bakuna)… na hinihingi ng mga manufacturers dahil takot po sila, dahil rin sa nangyari sa Dengvaxia, na sila po ang babalikan at sila ang idedemanda (We are being delayed due the several requirements in securing the vaccine…that are being demanded by the manufacturers for fear, for what had happened in the case of Dengvaxia, that charges will be filed against them [in case some negative effects occur),” Go said.

“So, tayo naman, kami bilang mambabatas, at ang Executive naman po, is working hand in hand para po mapabilis ‘yung proseso at dumating na po ‘yung bakuna (So, we as legislators, and the executive, are working hand in hand to hasten the process and the arrival of the vaccine),” he added.

Meanwhile, Go continues to encourage Filipinos to trust the government and COVID-19 vaccines in an effort to boost public vaccine confidence.

“I encourage my fellow Filipinos, magtiwala po tayo sa gobyerno, magtiwala po tayo sa ginagawang bakuna ng mga manufacturers (trust the government, let us also trust the manufacturers of the vaccines),” Go stated.

“Hindi naman po bibili ang ating gobyerno kung mayro’n pong diperensya ‘yan. Eh ‘yun lang po ang ating susi para unti-unti tayong makabalik sa ating normal na pamumuhay katulad noon (The government will not procure [the vaccine] if it is defective. That is the only key for us to slowly return to our normal lives as it were before),” he added. 

Go said that trust in the government and in concerned officials is necessary for the country to finally recover from the pandemic.         

“Kung gusto n’yong bumalik sa normal ang ating pamumuhay, magtiwala po tayo sa gobyerno. Magtiwala tayo kay Pangulong Duterte, magtiwala tayo kay Secretary (Carlito) Galvez at ginagawa naman po ng gobyerno ang lahat sa abot po ng ating makakaya, para sa Pilipino (If you want to go back to our normal way of living, trust the government. Have faith in President Duterte, trust Secretary (Carlito) Galvez. The government is doing everything for the Filipinos),” he added.