Press Release
February 18, 2021

Bong Go co-sponsors measure seeking to expedite procurement of COVID-19 vaccines for LGUs and establish indemnification fund

Senator Christopher "Bong" Go co-sponsored Senate Bill 2057 which aims to hasten the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines by allowing local government units to procure vaccines and make advance payments, and to include an indemnification fund requested by vaccine manufacturers to cover the possible expenses and claims arising from adverse effects of the vaccines.

"It is my honor to co-sponsor the COVID-19 Vaccination Program Bill to expedite the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines," Go said during the Senate regular session on Tuesday, February 16.

To hasten the process of procurement and administration of the COVID-19 vaccines, the measure gives authority to the Department of Health and the National Task Force Against COVID-19 to "undertake negotiated procurement of COVID-19 vaccines and the ancillary supplies and services for their storage, transport, and distribution," according to Senator Sonny Angara, the sponsor of the measure.

If required by the supplier, manufacturer, distributor, contractor or consultant, the bill also allows LGUs procuring their own vaccines to pay in advance not more than 50% of the contract price.

"Malaki po ang pasasalamat ko sa ating mga LGUs sa kanilang inisyatibo sa pag-secure ng vaccines para sa kanilang constituents. The national government must work hand-in-hand with our LGUs because despite the national government's own tireless efforts, we cannot do this alone. We need to be united amid these challenges," Go said in his manifestation speech during the regular session.

"In the spirit of bayanihan, some LGUs have entered into tripartite agreements with the national government and vaccine manufacturers and have allotted funds to help ensure the immediate and efficient roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccination program. Malaking tulong po ito. Sa kabila nito, marami pa tayong mga oportunidad upang magtulungan," he added.

SB 2057 also proposes the creation of a COVID-19 National Vaccine Indemnity Fund. It will be administered by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation and will be sourced from the 2021 national budget's Contingent Fund.

"The Vaccine Indemnification Fund is intended to be earmarked exclusively to compensate and indemnify identified vaccine recipients who sustain injury in connection with the use of the vaccines and where the adverse effects may be attributed to the vaccination," Go explained.

He added that, according to vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr., all vaccine manufacturers require indemnity and liability frameworks, which include setting up an indemnification fund backed by legislation to safeguard them from possible liabilities.

"Medyo nagmamadali na po ang ating National Task Force ukol dito. They have informed the National Task Force against COVID-19 that without legislation covering indemnification, they may not be able to supply the vaccine," he said.

"Kaya suportado ko ang panukala hinggil dito para maging mas handa tayo sa kung meron mang hindi kanais-nais na epekto sa tao ang paggamit ng COVID-19 (vaccine). Importante na maisabatas ito dahil malaking parte ito ng ating National COVID-19 Vaccine Roadmap at kailangan ito upang tuloy-tuloy na ang pag-roll-out ng mga bakuna sa ating bansa," the Senator added.

The said measure was also co-authored by Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, and Senators Imee Marcos, Grace Poe, Pia Cayetano, Bong Revilla Jr, Francis Tolentino, Sherwin Gatchalian, Nancy Binay, Cynthia Villar, Francis Pangilinan, Manny Pacquiao, Joel Villanueva and Richard Gordon. Its principal sponsor is Senate Committee on Finance Chair Angara.

Meanwhile, Go also emphasized and commended the inclusion of a provision in the Committee Report that will waive the requirement of Phase 4 trials for COVID-19 medication and vaccine stipulated in the Universal Health Care Law to expedite the procurement of the COVID-19 vaccine.

"The provision under Bayanihan 2 is due to expire next month which is why this provision is needed to cover the ongoing procurement of vaccines," explained Go.

The Health Technology Assessment Council will now have the authority to make recommendations to the DOH and the PhilHealth on COVID-19 vaccines based on preliminary data from Phase 3 clinical trials and World Health Organization recommendations.

"I just want to underscore that to ensure safety, there must be an Emergency Use Authorization from the Food and Drug Administration," Go suggested.

Citing data from the National Economic and Development Authority on the economic costs of reverting back to Enhanced Community Quarantine, Go urged his fellow senators to speed up the process of procuring the vaccines.

"According to the National Economic and Development Authority or NEDA, reverting to Enhanced Community Quarantine could cost NCR and nearby regions some 2.1 billion pesos in income a day. Meanwhile, every day of General Community Quarantine costs these regions around 700 million pesos in income," Go pointed out.

"Malaki na po ang epekto ng COVID-19 sa ating ekonomiya, marami na po ang nawalan ng trabaho at nadaragdagan po ang mga nagugutom nating mga kababayan," he lamented.

Once the vaccines are available, Go asked Galvez to prioritize poor Filipinos aside from frontliners by coordinating closely with LGUs.

"Makipag-coordinate po tayo sa mga LGUs na walang pondong pambili ng bakuna. Marami pa pong LGUs na wala talaga silang sariling pambili ng bakuna," the Senator said.

"Ipagpatuloy rin dapat natin ang close coordination sa mga LGUs at maging sa pribadong sektor. Ito po ay bahagi ng ating whole-of-nation approach upang tuluyan na nating malampasan ang pandemyang ito," he added.

Go also stressed the importance of gaining the confidence of Filipinos on the vaccines, saying "importanteng makuha natin ang kumpyansa ng mga kababayan natin, confidence ng mga kababayan natin, dahil kung makakabili nga tayo ng bakuna pero wala namang magpapaturok, hindi pa rin po tayo makaka-recover sa pandemyang ito."

Ending his statement, Go called on the public to trust the government and trust medical experts.

"Importante po sa ating lahat ang safety at efficacy ng vaccine na bibilhin. Hindi po papayag ang mga medical experts natin na hindi safe at effective ang bakuna na ituturok sa atin. Magtiwala po tayo sa mga ginagawa ng ating gobyerno para mabigyan tayo ng sufficient, safe, at effective vaccines," he urged.

"Magtiwala po tayo. Magbayanihan po tayo. Magkaisa po tayo para sa kapakanan ng bawat Pilipino," Go ended.

News Latest News Feed