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House support for COVID-19 fight underscored

THE House of Representatives, led by Speaker Lord Allan Velasco,reiterated support for the national government’s effort to end the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

In a statement, Velasco said the Lower House is always prepared to pass measures that will help the executive department address the effects of pandemic on the economy and health sector.

“The House of Representatives has always been supportive of the national government’s efforts to fight COVID-19,” he said.

The House leader said that their support has been manifested a number of times with the passage of the 2021 national budget, which includes a P72.5 billion allocation for vaccine procurement, as well as the Bayanihan 1 and 2.

“We are even prepared to pass the Bayanihan 3, which proposes a P420-billion fund for the implementation of much-needed COVID-19 response and recovery interventions, including a P25-billion budget for COVID-19 treatment and vaccines,” he added.

As soon as they were apprised that the indemnification fund is a requirement of the vaccine manufacturers, Velasco said the House did not waste time in filing House Bill 8648, which would allow emergency procurement of vaccines and provide the required indemnification fund.

The bill is now up for second reading after it was approved by the Committee on Appropriations and sponsored in plenary.

With President Rodrigo Roa Duterte certifying the measure as urgent, the House is expected to approve HB 8648 on second and third reading by Monday.

“Rest assured that the House will continue to pass legislation that would help sustain the national government’s efforts in addressing the pandemic, so we can all return to normal at the soonest possible time,” he also said.