Citing the global vaccine procurement scene where the World Health Organization (WHO) slammed rich countries for hogging COVID-19 vaccines, Parañaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez said that the bill which will expedite the government’s procurement and administration of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines will prevent this from happening in the country.
During the Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum on Wednesday, Olivarez who is also chairman of the Metro Manila Council (MMC) said vaccines should be equally distributed to every local government unit (LGU).
“Hindi pupuwede yung nangyayari po ngayon na yun ang mayayaman na bansa ang may vaccine, yung mga third world country wala. Baka mangyari din sa Pilipinas yan baka yung LGU lang na may kaya ang makabili at mawalan yung mga municipalities. (It should not be like what’s happening now where richer countries get access to vaccines and third world countries do not. It may also happen in the Philippines where only the LGUs that have the means can get the vaccines while municipalities cannot),” he explained.
A report from Agence France-Presse published on Monday said that direct transactions made by rich countries according to WHO director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, have reduced the previously-agreed allocations meant for poorer countries through the COVAX program. It is a mechanism designed to guarantee rapid, fair, and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines worldwide.
“So ibabalanse po talaga ng batas po yan na magkaroon ng equitable distribution ng vaccine among the municipalities and provinces all over the country (That law would balance it to have an equitable distribution of the vaccine among the municipalities, cities, and provinces all over the country),” Olivarez said.
He believes that once Senate Bill No. 2057 or the proposed COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021 is enacted into law, it will be of great help to LGUs.
The bill seeks to give authorization to the national government, as well as the LGUs including the private sector for the vaccines through the National Task Force Against COVID-19 (NTF) and the Department of Health (DOH). It was approved on third and final reading on Monday with 22 affirmative votes.
He added that the bill would also let the LGUs help the national government since it cannot shoulder all the expenses in acquiring the vaccines.