Albay LGUs await rules on Covid-19 vax procurement

By Mar S. Arguelles


It’s all systems go.


Local Government Units (LGUs) in Albay province have already prepared their respective coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccine procurement and inoculation plan while awaiting the formal guidelines from the national government, Gov. Al Francis Bichara on Monday, Jan. 18, said in an interview.


“We are just waiting for clear-cut vaccination guidelines from the national government so that we can make our own vaccination procedure based on the given protocols,” Bichara said.

“This matter has been taken and agreed upon during the recent meeting of the League of Provinces of the Philippines,” he added.


Albay, according to the governor, could now roll out funds needed for the purchase of the vaccines but needs guidance from the national government on its procurement and who would be prioritized for inoculation.


“The funds are ready, we are open to the sharing scheme proposed by other LGUs,” he said.


Asked what vaccine would he prefer for his constituents, he said the one manufactured by “Pfizer,” but he added, “let’s wait for the national guidelines”.


Meanwhile, Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal, in a separate interview, said he has made a reservation with two vaccine manufacturers -- the pharmaceutical company in the United Kingdom (UK) and in Russia for the procurement of some 150,000 vials of the anti-Covid-19 vaccines.


Rosal said the city government has set aside P200 million for the purchase of the vaccines.


He said that once the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issues the “Emergency Use Authorization” and allows the city government to purchase from manufacturers, the order would be finalized “whichever comes first”.


Rosal said he is also considering ordering from the Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech.


“The issue lies not on the matter of choice but on the subject of availability,” he said, adding that all three vaccine products claim to have 90 percent efficacy.


Libon Mayor Wilfredo “Das” Maronilla, Albay League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) president, said LGUs that cannot purchase the Covid-19 vaccine would rely on the national government for procurement.


Maronilla said third to fifth class municipalities with insufficient Internal Revenue Allotments (IRA) could not afford to shell out even a small portion of their IRA to buy the vaccines. (PNA)