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MO 15 seen to hasten COVID vaccine acquisition

THE Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) welcomes the signing of Memorandum Order No. 51 granting local government units (LGUs) authority to make advance payments exceeding 15% for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines provided they are authorized to make the procurement by the National Task Force COVID-19.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte recently signed MO 51 allowing LGUs to make advance payments that exceeds the 15 percent limit set under procurement laws. The Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Government Procurement Reform Act says that an advance payment “shall be made only after prior approval of the President, and shall not exceed 15 percent of the contract amount, unless otherwise directed by the President.

DILG Officer-in-Charge (OIC) and Undersecretary Bernardo C. Florece, Jr. said that MO No. 15 is a welcome development in the country’s efforts to hasten the acquisition of COVID-19 vaccines for all adult Filipino citizens.

This development will ascertain that both the NTF and the LGUs will speed up the process of securing COVID-19 vaccines for their constituents. Malaking hakbang ito para sa lalo pang pagpapabilis ng proseso ng pagbili ng mga bakuna para sa ating mga kababayan,” Florece said.

He said that MO. No. 15 and the possible enactment of House Bill No. 8648 that will allow the importation of COVID-19 vaccines tax free and Senate Bill No.2057 seeking to fast-track the purchase and roll-out of COVID-19 together with the P500-million indemnification fund removes the barriers to the early delivery of vaccines to our country.

The League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) also expressed its gratitude to President Duterte for signing MO 15 saying that “We are very thankful to President Rodrigo Duterte for the timely issuance of Memorandum Order 51 that will allow cities to make advance payments for the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines.

Florece reminded all LGUs that the MO 15 provides that the procurement and payment of vaccines is subject to authorization from National Task Force Against COVID-19 (NTF) Chief Implementer Carlito Galvez, Jr as well as “subject to the criteria and limits to be identified by the NTF and Department of Health, consistent with applicable laws, rules, and regulations.

We wish to remind the LGUs that all negotiations must follow the tripartite process involving the national government and the pharmaceutical companies they wish to purchase from,” he added.

Florece reminded all concerned that “corruption has no place amid the COVID-19 pandemic and all those who will be proven to have engaged in illegal acts will be dealt with under the full power of the law.

We will not hesitate to apply the full weight of the law once we have proven na kayo ay sangkot sa krimen at korapsyon na may kinalaman sa pagbili ng mga bakunang ito,” he added.

MO 15 also authorizes the NTF and the Department of Health to make advance payments exceeding 15 percent of the total contract amount for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines. The said MO takes effect immediately after its issuance and will remain until the lifting of the State of Calamity due to COVID-19.