Senator Sonny Angara welcomed the swift approval of Senate Bill 2057, saying it will remove the obstacles to the delivery of some of the first doses of Covid-19 vaccines to the country and hasten the inoculation of Filipinos across the country.
A total of 22 senators voted to approve the measure, with no negative votes and no abstentions.
“The entire nation is eagerly awaiting for the start of the vaccination program that carries with it the promise of immunization from the Covid-19 virus that has caused so much hardship and pain to all Filipinos over the past year,” the Senate finance chair said.
“With this measure, we hope to see the start of the inoculation of our population, starting with the priority sectors, at the shortest possible time,” Angara said.
“We as a people have lost so much because of the pandemic—in terms of jobs, opportunities and human life. However, we believe that with this measure, we have not lost out on the belief that there will in fact be an end to this ordeal,” he added.
Once enacted, the national government, local government units (LGUs) and the private sector will be authorized to procure Covid-19 vaccines through the National Task Force Against COVID-19 (NTF) and the Department of Health (DOH).
LGUs will also be authorized to directly procure the ancillary supplies and services necessary for the storage, transport, and deployment of the vaccines.
A significant number of LGUs have started preparing for the rollout of their respective vaccination programs and are waiting for the enactment of the bill in order to exempt them from the legal requirements regarding the procurement of goods.
Among the laws covered by the exemption are Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act, Presidential Decree 1445 or the Government Auditing Code of the Philippines, and the Local Government Code.
“The bill will provide legal cover to the LGUs, many of which have intimated to us their concern about possible adverse findings by the Commission on Audit and even graft cases that may be filed against their officials,” Angara said.