By Rey E. Requejo | Manila Standard
Former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. has called for the streamlining of the procurement process for COVID-19 vaccines to hasten their importation amid the local government’s intensified vaccination rollout.
“To ensure enough and continuous stocks of vaccines, the government procurement agency must simply cut through the red tape,” Marcos said, reacting to LGUs’ mounting clamor for sufficient vaccine supplies.
Marcos also expressed alarm with the warning issued by the World Health Organization that the dreaded Delta variant of COVID-19 is now sweeping through the country as the dominant virus strain.
“The WHO has confirmed the community transmission of Delta variant, which to me signifies an urgent call to action for our procurement officials to bypass the usual procedure to hasten the importation of vaccines,” he stressed.
Marcos was referring to the tripartite accord among the national and local governments and the private sector in acquiring vaccine supplies, which appeared to have been set aside.
Under Republic Act 11525 or the COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021, the LGUs and private entities may procure their own vaccine supplies through multi-party agreements (MPAs) with the national government.
“For one reason or another, such agreement appears to have been virtually mothballed despite persistent appeals by the local officials and leaders of the private sector to have the MPA signed by their counterpart in the national government,” Marcos said.
“In fact, a resolution has been filed with the Senate urging the Committee of the Whole to look into the MPAs which have reportedly been submitted to the national government but remained unsigned by its representatives,” he added.
Marcos noted that LGUs are ready for the urgent need to vaccinate their citizens, but it cannot be undertaken immediately due to lack of supply that resulted in the “on and off” vaccine rollout in the National Capital Region.
“Especially in the provinces where the grievance of our LGUs is the shortage of vaccine supply… so we call on the national government to really regulate the importation of COVID-19 vaccines. I believe that it will be more helpful to solve this problem if the MPA is implemented so that the initiative of the private sector and the LGUs can move forward,” the former senator said.