Press Release
February 17, 2021

Zubiri: LGU Procurement Will Help National Vaccination Program

Senate Bill 2057, or the COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021, was filed on Tuesday, seeking to expedite the procurement and administration of COVID-19 vaccines by allowing local government units (LGUs) and private entities to directly procure COVID-19 vaccines with their own funds, provided that they do so within a tripartite mechanism with the Department of Health and the National Taskforce Against COVID-19.

"We need to expedite our procurement because we are in a race against the clock," said Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, one of the principal authors and sponsors of the bill. "We need mass inoculation and herd immunity as soon as possible."

Along with Zubiri, the bill was co-authored by Sens. Sonny Angara, Imee Marcos, Grace Poe, Pia Cayetano, Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr., Ralph Recto, Joel Villanueva, Nancy Binay, Francis Tolentino, Win Gatchalian, Richard Gordon, Cynthia Villar, Risa Hontiveros, Kiko Pangilinan, Manny Pacquiao, and Christopher "Bong" Go.

Zubiri explained that local government units have been requesting this bill: "About seventy LGUs are already in negotiations with vaccine suppliers through the tripartite mechanism, and they will of course need to deposit advance payments to secure their vaccines. Otherwise, they will lose the allocation."

For the duration of the state of calamity, or this pandemic, the bill will exempt LGUs from Section 338 of the Local Government Code and Sec. 88 of the Government Auditing Code, which prohibits LGUs from making advance payments. In this way, LGUs will be able to secure COVID-19 vaccines with advance payments of up to 50 percent.

"For LGUs na bibili ng vaccines, susunod pa rin po sila sa national guidelines on the COVID-19 vaccine prioritization framework and criteria drafted by the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG) which was adopted by the IATF, especially on the prioritization of frontline workers in health facilities, senior citizens, and indigent persons. So it will not be a rich vs. poor scenario.

"Kung tutuusin nga, lalaki pa ang pondo ng national government para pambili ng vaccines sa mga lower income areas. Kasi iyon pong dapat nakalaan na budget for higher income areas, we will now be able to redirect some of that money to rural areas or low-income LGUs.

"Vaccination has to be a national effort, we all understand that. But in an archipelagic country, LGUs are naturally going to play a big part in that national effort. This bill will empower our LGUs to help the national government vaccinate as many people as possible, as soon as possible. This is the true spirit of Bayanihan, this is Bayanihan at work."

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