THE national government deserves the support of the public as it exerts its best efforts to vaccinate the Filipino people, particularly the poorest of the poor, against the dreaded COVID-19.
This despite the fact that the government continues to grapple with the adverse effects of the pandemic, including dwindling tax collections, which remains a major headache of the authorities.
It is certainly heartening to know that state authorities would shoulder the costs of procuring COVID-19 vaccines for the nation’s local government units (LGUs) with meager financial resources.
“Ang national government nga po…(ay) handang siya mismo ang bibili (ng bakuna) para sa lahat,” said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, a former member of the House of Representatives.
However, Spokesman Roque, a lawyer by profession, was quick to explain that other LGUs would still be allowed to purchase their own supply of COVID-19 vaccines for their constituents.
He said the administration welcomes the gesture of these well-to-do provinces, cities and towns, adding “hindi natin minamasama ito at tinatanggap natin ang kanilang mga offer na tumulong .”
Among the LGUs that have already set aside funds to purchase the vaccines include the cities of Manila, Makati, Quezon, Pasig, San Juan, Mandaluyong and Taguig, all in Metropolitan Manila.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei Nograles, on the other hand, said the national government has already allotted a staggering P75 billion for the COVID-19 vaccines for 57 million Filipinos.
The first doses of the Sinovac vaccine from China will go to health workers. After them, other sectors would be prioritized, including the elderly, indigent citizens and uniformed personnel.
With many Filipinos still in the de-energizing grip of grinding poverty, the government’s decision to provide the people with free COVID vaccines is, without doubt, a most welcome development.