Senate Majority Leader Migz Zubiri filed Senate Resolution No. 858 calling for an inquiry into delays in multi-party agreements (MPAs) between the national government and entities looking to procure COVID-19 vaccines, particularly local government units and the private sector.

Zubiri, principal author of Republic Act No. 11525 or the COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021, is urging the Senate Committee of the Whole on the Vaccination Program to look into reports that MPAs submitted by LGUs and the private sector have been left unsigned and are languishing on the national government’s end, directly affecting the country’s vaccine rollout.

“I’ve had exhaustive consultations with several LGUs and the private sector, and their number one concern has been the delay on delivery and the unavailability of vaccines in far-flung areas. They have applied for MPAs with the national government, but these have remained unsigned and haven’t been acted upon,” the veteran legislator said.

“Isinulong namin ‘yung Vaccination Program Act dahil ang dami pong LGUs na lumapit sa amin at the time, nakikiusap na magawan ng paraan na makapag-procure sila mismo ng vaccines para sa kanilang mga constituents,” the seasoned lawmaker explained.

“And the private sector has been asking for the same thing. So, we included provisions in the law specifically allowing our LGUs and the private sector to do this, as long as it’s within a multi-party agreement with the National Task Force Against COVID-19 and the Department of Health,” the senator added.

The COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act authorizes the Department of Health and the National Task Force to negotiate and approve the terms and conditions of procurement on behalf of LGUs and private entities, in order to ensure price uniformity and prevent price competition.

“Some three hundred private companies have pending multi-party agreements for an estimate of at least ten million doses.”

The resolution mentions that LGUs and some three hundred private companies have pending MPAs for an estimate of at least ten million doses.

“Here’s a situation where you have LGUs already administering the vaccines, and they are willing to buy more vaccines for their constituencies, at no cost to the national government. Hindi na kailangang maghanap or mangutang pa ang national government para sa pangangailangan ng mga LGUs for their vaccines. Even my own province of Bukidnon has allotted as much as P500 million to purchase vaccines for 250,000 recipients, but our LGU has not been able to do so due to the non-action on these MPAs with the national government. I’ve spoken to several other LGUs that are in the same situation,” he said.

Zubiri appealed to the IATF to immediately release all the MPAs pending with the NTF and the DOH so the LGUs and the private sector can help achieve our government’s goal of herd immunity by December.

“Let’s let our LGUs source more vaccines for their constituents and allow private entities to buy vaccines for their employees to take off some of the burden from the national government. If there’s a problem with the MPAs, sana malinawan na po ang mga LGU and private groups, so we can find solutions and move forward with their procurements as soon as possible,” he said.

“As it stands, no one knows what’s causing the delays, and it’s frustrating. Mayroon pang higit 63 milyong Pilipino na hindi pa bakunado. Napupuno na ulit ang mga COVID ward ng mga ospital. Ang daming gustong magpabakuna, pero kulang ang bakuna. Andiyan ang Vaccination Program Act to allow our LGUs and the private sector to procure for themselves, at ready na sila, pero hindi naman ma-finalize ang MPAs nila,” Zubiri noted.

Per the National Task Force, about 14 million Filipinos have been fully vaccinated as of 12 August 2021, against a target of 77 million by year end.

“We really need to fast-track our vaccination, especially since pataas na naman ang trend ng positive cases, kahit na maraming lugar ang naka-ECQ. And with the rise of the Delta variant, it should be all hands on deck in helping our government fight the pandemic,” he said.

“I know the national government has been working itself to the ground with our vaccination program. We have reached a record high of over 710,000 doses administered in a single day, and we are averaging at over 500,000 daily vaccinations now. These are good numbers. But we can do even better if we let our LGUs and the private sector procure for their own communities,” Zubiri noted.

“We can achieve a million doses a day.”

He is confident the Philippines can achieve a million doses a day.

“And we will be able to make great leaps in vaccination in our provinces and our rural areas. Napakahalaga po niyan, since ang dami nang COVID hotspots sa labas ng NCR.

At iyon naman po ang goal nating lahat, ang mabilis at malawak na vaccination. So I really hope we can get on with the MPAs and ramp up our vaccination. Let’s help one another out here. Working together and sharing resources is the key to beating this virus,” Zubiri concluded.



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