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Gov’t asked to let LGUs procure COVID vaccines

A HOUSE leader has urged the national government to allow local government units (LGUs) to directly procure their coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) vaccine from manufacturers.

Deputy Speaker and Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez’s appeal is contained in House Resolution (HR) 1460, which followed a similar measure calling for permitting private companies to buy their own vaccine to fight the infectious new coronavirus.

Rodriguez invoked the constitutional right to health of everyFilipinos in making the twin pleas.

He said LGUs throughout the country should be allowed to import vaccine for their constituents because the national government would take care of the vaccination of only 30-50 percent of the country’s population.

The lawmaker said more than 30 provinces and cities have already allocated funds for buying jabs approved by the Food and Drug Administration, with the cities of Makati, Quezon and Taguig setting aside P1 billion each.

He added that even small provinces like Biliran and Eastern Samar are raring to procure vaccine with allocations of P100 million and P500 million, respectively.

Rodriguez pointed out that these LGUs and scores of private companies intend to give the vaccine free to their constituents and employees.

“The government’s priority right should be having as many Filipinos as possible vaccinated in order to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic, get the economy on the road to recovery and return the nation to pre-2020 normality,” he stressed.

He said allowing LGUs and private companies to buy their own vaccine will greatly help the national government in achieving its goal of herd immunity, which calls for inoculating at least 80 percent of the population.

Rodriguez has also filed a bill to exempt vaccine importation from duties, taxes and other fees.

Though the FDA has yet to give its go-signal to the use of any vaccine, many LGUs have already negotiated with vaccine producers for their supply.