Go: Vaccine procurement bill ready for Duterte’s signature

Published February 26, 2021, 2:43 PM

by Mario Casayuran

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go on Friday disclosed that the COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021 has already been transmitted to the Office of the President and is now just awaiting President Duterte’s signature.

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go (Joseph Vidal/Senate PRIB/ MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

The measure seeks to speed up the procurement and administration of COVID-19 vaccines in the country and establish an indemnity fund.

During his personal visit and distribution of assistance to employees of Veterans Golf Club in Quezon City on Thursday, February 25, Go said that he expects the measure to be signed today. 

Go explained that vaccine makers require the government to give immunity to them, thus the need for the government to indemnify those who suffer severe reactions to the vaccines.

The measure also aims to hasten the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines by allowing local government units to procure vaccines and make advance payments.

It also proposes the creation of a COVID-19 National Vaccine Indemnity Fund which will be administered by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation and will be sourced from the 2021 national budget’s Contingent Fund. This is one of the requirements sought by COVID-19 vaccine suppliers. 

Go, chairman of the Senate health committee, said he and his fellow lawmakers had worked double time to speed up the passage of the bill to help expedite the delivery of the much-needed vaccines to the country. The measure was sponsored by Senate Committee on Finance chairman Juan Edgardo ‘’Sonny’’ M. Angara and was also co-sponsored by Go and other senators. 

“Nagmadali kami noong nakaraang Martes (We rushed the measure last Tuesday). We voted on third reading and it was signed by the respective leaderships of both Houses and I heard it was already transmitted to the Office of the President yesterday,” Go said.

“I’m sure the Office of the Executive Secretary will be working on it, and will be soon signed by the President,” he added.

 The COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021 was passed by the Senate on Tuesday, February 23, while the House of Representatives adopted the Senate version of the measure on the same day.