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Allow LGUs to buy their own vaccines — solon

Alfred Vargas
Alfred Vargas

A House leader urged the national government to allow local government units (LGUs) to purchase coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines for their constituents.

Alfred Vargas
Alfred Vargas

Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas, chairman of the House committee on social services, is fully supporting some LGUs that already expressed their intention to buy their own COVID-19 vaccines.

The Quezon City government is looking to spend P1 billion on Covid vaccines, according to Joseph Juico, co-chair of the city’s COVID-19 Task Force.

The cities of Manila, Davao, Iligan, among others, have also said they have set aside funds for purchasing vaccines.

“I hope the national government will decentralize the procurement and vaccination process to ensure a speedy and efficient roll-out, especially as some of our LGUs have expressed their readiness and have set aside their own funds for the purchase of vaccines for their constituents,” Vargas said.

According to Vargas, by allowing LGUs with the capacity to pay to procure their own vaccines, the national government can focus on other priority areas, such as inoculating frontline workers and localities that have lower income.

Vargas underscored the need to give LGUs a biggerr part in the government’s vaccination plan, which the solon said could prove a logistical nightmare.

“By allowing those LGUs that can procure the vaccine on their own to do so, the national government could trim the numbers down to more manageable figures,” he stressed.

Congress has allotted P72.5 billion in the proposed 2021 national budget for the purchase of COVID vaccines next year.

The government is currently negotiating supply agreements with various manufacturers for 60 million doses by the middle of next year.

Vargas, however pointed out that the allocation for vaccines is “unprogrammed,” which means it is still subject to fund availability.

“Given that we cannot guarantee its sources, the willingness of LGUs to buy will certainly be a huge boost,” he said.

Meanwhile, Vargas also appealed to Quezon City residents not to neglect practicing health protocols during the holiday season, as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the city.

Quezon City’s COVID-19 reproduction rate already reached 1.15. Experts recommend that the reproduction rate should be kept below 1. The reproduction rate is the number of people that one COVID-19 positive case can infect.

The city government also placed a compound in Tandang Sora on lockdown after 10 people who attende a birthday party held by an infected individual tested positive for the virus.