Former Senator Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ R. Marcos Jr. on Wednesday, September 1 called for the streamlining of the procurement process for COVID-19 vaccines to speed up the import of supplies amid the local government units’ (LGUs) intensified vaccination rollout.
“To ensure enough and continuous stocks of vaccines, the government procurement agency must simply cut through the red tape,” Marcos said in reaction to the LGUs blistering clamor for sufficient vaccine provisions.
The former senator was also alarmed by the World Health Organization (WHO) warning that the freakish Delta variant of COVID-19 now sweeps through the country as the dominant virus strain.
“The WHO has confirmed the community transmission of Delta variant which to me signifies an urgent call to action for our procurement officials to bypass the usual procedure to hasten the importation of vaccines,” he stressed.
Marcos was referring to the tripartite accord among the national and local governments and the private sector in the acquisition of vaccine supplies which appeared to have been set aside.
Under Republic Act 11525, or the COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021, LGUs and private entities may procure their own vaccine supplies through a multi-party agreements (MPA) with the national government.
“For one reason or another, such agreement appears to have been virtually mothballed despite persistent appeals by the local officials and leaders of the private sector to have the MPA signed by their counterpart in the national government,” lamented the former senator.
“In fact,” he added, “a resolution has been filed with the Senate urging the Committee of the Whole to look into the MPAs which have reportedly been submitted to the national government but remained unsigned by its representatives.
“Malinaw ang kahandaan ng LGUs sa kagyat na pangangailangang mabakunahan ang kani-kanilang mamamayan… pero mas malinaw na ang problema talaga ay ang supply ng bakuna (It is clear that LGUs are ready for their vaccines but what is clear is that there is a problem of vaccine supply),” Marcos said, noting an unsustained or “on and off” vaccine rollout at the National Capital Region (NCR).
He added: “Lalo naman sa mga probinsiya kung saan ang hinaing ng ating LGUs ay ang kakapusan ng supply ng bakuna (There is a complaint vaccine supply by LGUs)… kaya ang panawagan natin sa national government ay kailangan talagang ayusin ang pag-angkat ng Covid19 vaccines (That is why there is a call for the national government to iron out the processes in the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines) Naniniwala ako na higit na makatutulong sa paglutas ng nasabing problema kung pairalin na ang MPA upang makagalaw ang initiative ng private sector at ng LGUs (I believe that the MPA is a big factor in the purchase of vaccines).’’