Drilon: Gov't must reward LGUs with successful vaccination program

Published June 13, 2021, 3:55 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) should consider rewarding local government units (LGUs) that have successfully vaccinated majority of their residents.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon made the suggestion on Sunday, saying this can help quicken the pace of the government’s COVID-19 immunization program.

“To encourage the public to get vaccinated, we need to give rewards to barangays for vaccinating a certain percentage of the population within their jurisdiction,” Drilon said over Radio DZBB.

Drilon, however, acknowledged this might be difficult to do since vaccine supplies are low.

Still, he said, he believes giving incentives or rewards to barangays which are able to convince residents to get the much-needed shots is needed to address vaccine hesitancy.

“Imbes na pinapalo nila yung mga tao na hindi sumusunod sa curfew, gamitin natin ang mga barangay para mapalakas yung pagbabakuna (Instead of hitting people who don’t follow the curfew, let’s use the barangays to strengthen the immunization program),” he said.

“Dapat itong DILG mag-offer ng reward sa barangay kapag marami sa kanilang residente ang nabakunahan, (DILG should offer rewards to villages if they are able to vaccinate majority of their residents),” he reiterated.

Drilon also proposed that the national government allow private firms and LGUs to procure vaccines directly from the manufacturers, without having to secure consent, in order to speed up the procurement and administration of COVID-19 vaccines.

He said giving blanket exemption to private firms can somehow quicken the pace so that those who have a contract with a manufacturer can bring vaccines without clearance.

“Of course, they must clear it with health authorities concerned. Otherwise, they don’t need consent from the national government,” he said.

The Palace had earlier clarified that private companies and LGUs must secure a tripartite agreement wit the manufacturer and national government in procuring vaccines as it is required under the COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act.

The national government also reasoned out the vaccines are not yet commercially available as COVID-19 jabs are still under emergency use authorization (EUA).

But Drilon said there is already an indemnity fund clause under the law, which exempts vaccine manufacturers from any liability unless by gross negligence or willful misconduct.