Press Release
February 18, 2021

Vaccine rollout must be corrupt-free: Pangilinan

THE pending vaccine procurement bill must include safeguards to prevent corruption and the use of the vaccine for political purposes, Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan said Thursday.

"Madalas sa makupad na burukrasya nabubuo at nagbubunga ang kurakot. Kaya nga padulas ang tawag sa suhol. Sa panukalang batas na ito, sisiguruhin ng Senado na lahat ng perang nakalaan para rito ay mapupunta sa bakuna at pagbabakuna," he said in support of Senate Bill 2042 which also seeks to empower local government units (LGUs) to have a bigger role in the implementation of the program.

He stressed that one critical key to speeding up the inoculation of Filipinos is working hand-in-hand with LGUs and the private sector to get the doses of protection to the people fast.

"There is no doubt LGUs are stepping up and are initiating efforts to deliver the vaccine to their constituents. The national government should support them by clearing the bureaucratic roadblocks that cause the delays," Pangilinan said.

"May mahalagang papel na ginagampanan ang LGUs sa pagbabakuna dahil anu't ano man, sila ang nilalapitan ng tao. Sila ang hinahanapan ng ayuda, sila ang pinagawa ng contact tracing, sila ang pinaghanda ng testing centers at laboratories, kaya't dapat nating suportahan ang inisyatiba nila na makahanap ng bakuna," he added.

The senator has repeatedly called out the national government's vaccine program rollout for being slow and with uncertain timetables, putting more lives at risk by the day without the means to control the deadly Covid-19.

"The spread of the Covic-19 variants and the new surge of infections are outpacing the lethargic action of the government when it comes to procuring the vaccines," he said.

Pangilinan said the national government should pave the way for the LGUs' significant participation in the vaccine rollout from the procurement, training of personnel, and administering the vaccine to their constituents.

"We are wondering why up to now, government officials tasked in the securing the vaccine could not yet ink a supply agreement for the delivery of the vaccines in the country," he said.

He rued that the Philippines has lagged behind its Southeast Asian neighbors in vaccine procurement, amid the administration's pronouncements that it has the money and that it has been constantly talking with Chinese officials.

Pangilinan also pushed for transparency in the rollout of the vaccine program such that the national government and the LGUs will make public the master list of those who will be inoculated to ensure that the priority and vulnerable sectors get the vaccine first.

He said there should also be vaccine passports, which could be on paper and digital, as proof of inoculation of the Filipinos.

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