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COVID-19 vaccination bill now awaiting PRRD’s signature

Bong Go
Bong Go

SENATOR Christopher “Bong” Go disclosed that the COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021, which seeks to speed up the procurement and administration of COVID-19 vaccines in the country and establish an indemnity fund, has already been transmitted to the Office of the President and is now just awaiting President Rodrigo Duterte’s signature.

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 by Friday.

“Ine-expect ko po na bukas mapipirmahan ito agad ng Pangulo dahil ito ang hinihintay ng ating vaccine czar at ng mga (vaccine) suppliers po … kapag dumating ‘yan sa lamesa ng Presidente sigurado wala pa isang oras pipirmahan na n’ya ‘yan,” Go said on Thursday.

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 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 Chair Sonny Angara and was also co-sponsored by Go and other senators.

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

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

“Ito po ang hinihingi ng COVAX, hinihingi ng WHO (World Health Organization). Ngayon, nandiyan na po at alam naman natin ang vaccine lang po ang susi dito sa ating problema para unti-unti na tayong makabalik sa normal nating pamumuhay,” 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.