By Bernadette E. Tamayo | The Manila Times
FORMER senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. has sought the immediate implementation of the multiparty agreements (MPAs) entered into by local government units (LGUs) and private entities with the national government to boost vaccine importation.
He raised the urgency of enforcing the MPAs amid the warning of the World Health Organization that the highly contagious Covid-19 Delta variant has become the dominant virus strain sweeping the country.
"We need to have more people vaccinated, more so now because the Delta variant is now the driving force behind the recent ballooning of Covid cases across the country," Marcos said.
"And we could only do that if the MPAs are enforced because it would widen the gateway of incoming vaccine supplies," he said in a statement on Tuesday.
Marcos deplored that the tripartite accords "appeared to have been set aside."
Under Republic Act 11525, or the "Covid-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021," LGUs and private entities may procure their own vaccine supplies through MPAs with the national government.
Marcos earlier lamented the delay in the implementation of such agreements despite persistent appeals by the local officials and leaders of the private sector to have the MPAs signed by their counterpart in the national government.
He added that a resolution has been filed in the Senate urging the Committee of the Whole to look into the MPAs that reportedly have been submitted to the national government but remained unsigned by their representatives.
"We have already seen that the LGUs are ready and capable of handling the vaccine rollout," Marcos said.
The former senator also urged the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Diseases (IATF-EID) to reconsider its decision on the mandatory use of face shields outside of the residence.
The IATF-EID required the wearing of face masks and face shields in public places, particularly inside malls and similar business establishments, as part of the health protocols to stem the spread of Covid-19.
Marcos pointed out that the mandatory use of face shields is not supported or endorsed by international health organizations and mental health advocates.
"Evidently it is only in our country where the use of face shields is being made compulsory," he said.
"I believe wearing of face masks at all times while in public places and inside business establishments, including proper hand-washing, use of alcohol and physical distancing is enough adherence to health protocols," Marcos added.