Press Release
February 12, 2021

Zubiri: LGU Vaccine Procurement Bill to Augment National Government Vaccine Program

Amid questions and concerns from the health sector, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri has clarified the scope of Senate Bill 2042, which he filed earlier this week.

"Senate Bill 2042 is not going to give LGUs precedence over the national government in terms of vaccine procurement. National government pa rin ang masusunod--LGUs still need to follow the national guidelines for vaccine deployment set by the Department of Health and the National Task Force against COVID-19," Zubiri said.

"So no one should fear inequitable distribution. Whether through the national government or the LGUs, our frontliners will still be prioritized for vaccination. The vaccines purchased by LGUs will augment the supply of the national government. LGUS who will not be able to purchase vaccines on their own will still be covered by the national government vaccine roll out.

"This bill was requested by all our LGUs. Around 70 local government units are in negotiations with vaccine suppliers and they need to deposit advance payments to secure them. Otherwise, we will lose the allocation. They are requesting that they also be exempted from the requirement of purchasing goods and services from suppliers with the lowest bid. This is not possible with the COVID-19 vaccine as it is supply-driven. It is impossible because the lowest price is not always available.

"In fact in the hearing yesterday, the Government Procurement Policy Board (GPPB) disclosed that the Office of the President is also drafting a memorandum order that will authorize an increase in the advance payment for coronavirus vaccines. Under the Auditing Code and Memorandum Circular 172, Series of 2005, only a 15% advance

payment is permitted. Under bill, the advance payment, particularly on COVID-19 vaccines, will be increased to 50%.

"Also, Section 338 of the Local Government Code prohibits advance payments, which states that 'Sec. 338. Prohibitions Against Advance Payments. - No money shall be paid on account of any contract under which no services have been rendered or goods delivered.' The bill exempts the LGUs from such provision for vaccine procurement for the duration of the state of national calamity or the pandemic, this is to speed up the roll-out of the national vaccination program.

"And let me stress again, this bill was requested by our LGUs, and it will only apply to our LGUs with tripartite agreement, which is facilitated by the national government. The procurement of the vaccines of the LGUs will still be under the ambit of the National Vaccination Program. So people do not need to worry about private entities taking advantage of this bill.

"During the hearing yesterday, we heard from the DOH, IATF, DBM, DOF, COA and the different leagues of the local governments that they fully support this measure to assist them in the speedy roll-out of the vaccines for the priority list of recipients.

"The DOH mentioned that the vaccines given by the Covax facility of the WHO arriving this month are already prioritized for all the health care workers and frontliners of our country. Una talaga sila sa pagbigay nang vaccination, so they have nothing to fear. We can put safeguards in the bill to make sure of that. But at this point in time, everyone should do their part in helping the national government vaccinate as many people as possible, starting with all those in the priority list of recipients."

News Latest News Feed