Malacañang lauded the city government of Puerto Princesa for taking the initiative in securing COVID-19 vaccine funds, even prior to the clinical trials hurdling through the last few phases.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, in a press briefing at the VJR Hall in Capitol Complex on Thursday, said that the locally appropriated funds may be separately added to the national COVID-19 vaccine allocation, helping the local government in procuring vaccines once made available.
“We appreciate and welcome the initiative of LGUs, ang problema ay availability. Hindi mo maalis sa manufacturers na may quota. We are talking to four companies, and even more. Local appropriation can purchase na hindi included sa quota para mas marami ang makuha natin,” Roque told the reporters.
City mayor Lucilo Bayron, who was also present on the event, said that the city government’s move was to make sure that local residents would not fall behind the vaccination program.
“Nagpalagay tayo ng ganoong appropriation pang-insure kung hindi mabibigyan lahat from the national government. Para mas mataas ang percentage [ng mga mababakunahan],” Bayron added.
This, after the United Kingdom (UK) became the first country to authorize a COVID-19 vaccine, marking a critical moment in the global fight against coronavirus.
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was granted emergency authorization by British regulators on Wednesday, and the first doses were expected to be rolled out from early next week, according to international reports.
Lawyer-councilor Herbert S. Dilig, author of Ordinance No. 1079, in an earlier interview, said that indigent residents of Puerto Princesa will be prioritized when the COVID-19 vaccines were made available.
“Ang ordinansang ito ay ang magbibigay ng libreng COVID-19 vaccines sa mga indigent residents ng Puerto Princesa City. Ang lead na administrator ng program ay City Health Office (CHO),” Dilig said.
Approved on September 25 by city mayor Lucilo Bayron, the beneficiaries of the free vaccination program would be screened by the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) and City Planning Office (CPO).
The funds would be drawn from the maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) drugs and medicines allocation of the public health emergency response for COVID-19 pandemic programs appropriated through Ordinance No. 32-2020.