THE budget allocation of the city of Manila for its COVID vaccination program once the vaccines are available might go up as high as P1 billion.
This was announced by Mayor Isko Moreno yesterday, as he called on residents of Manila to observe honesty by submitting themselves voluntarily to the city’s free COVID testing, if they are returning from areas outside of Manila during the holidays.
Moreno also asked for the indulgence and patience of residents if they experience potholes on the streets, saying he has ordered the cancellation of certain infrastructure projects and had the budget realigned for the city government’s COVID vaccination program.
“We have boosted our mitigation programs …our food security and vaccination programs as part of our working plan for the next six months,” he said.
It was learned that Moreno had signed a non-disclosure agreement with vaccine makers Pfizer and Astra Zeneca following talks that began as early as July last year.
Moreno said both companies are more readily available and accessible to talks and are very transparent, adding he had taken the cue from the national government.
The mayor also thanked and lauded President Rodrigo Duterte for having issued last December 1 Executive Order 121 which authorizes the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue emergency use authorization (EUA) to expected coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) drugs and vaccines that will be made available in the Philippines.
Meanwhile, Moreno urged those who are returning to Manila after spending their holidays in the provinces and other areas outside of Manila to submit themselves to COVID tests which are being given for free, for their own safety and peace of mind and those of their loved ones.
“Certificates will be issued at magagamit din nila ito sa pagbalik sa trabaho kaya nakikiusap kami sa returnees, magkusa na lamang kayo. Para sa kaligtasan din ninyo ito,” Moreno said. So far, he said that 121 have been tested and none had been found positive.
Under the process, Moreno said the person tested will have to stay at the quarantine facility while awaiting the result which is released within 24 hours. The facility is equipped with airconditioning units, wifi and even free food.
Moreno said there are 14 quarantine facilities in the city that are fully functional and ready to accept those who wish to get tested, stressing that early detection is key to better chances at recovery and preventing community transmission.
He said that those who will return to Manila and elude testing may face criminal cases but stressed that he would not want to go to that.
Instead, Moreno encouraged the residents to cooperate by following the rules.
In a separate development, Moreno called on the devotees to the Black Nazarene to practice their devotion inside their respective homes where he said they could still pray and be safe at the same time. The annual procession where millions attend have been cancelled to avoid COVID transmission.