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By Prince Golez

President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the proposed tripartite agreements between the national government, local government units (LGUs) and pharmaceutical companies for the procurement of coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccines.

National Task Force Against Covid-19 Chief Implementer and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. made the announcement in a statement released to reporters Thursday evening.

“A number of LGUs had already expressed their intention to partner with the national government to procure vaccines using their own funds even during the early stages of our negotiations with pharmaceutical companies,” Galvez said in a statement.

“Since then, a growing number of LGUs from all parts of the country have reached out to us and manifested the same intention. We are therefore pleased that when we submitted our proposal to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to forge tripartite agreements between LGUs, the national government, and vaccine manufacturers, he immediately approved it,” he added.

Galvez said the tripartite agreement, which is similar to the initiative signed between national government, private sector and vaccine manufacturers in November 2020, will ensure the Philippines obtains a bigger share of COVID vaccines.

As we negotiate with these vaccine makers and place our orders for the Philippines, the tripartite agreements with the LGUs will urge pharmaceutical companies to expand their allocation for our country. By factoring in the orders of local governments in our negotiations with these pharmaceutical companies, securing deals with them would be easier,” according to him.

He further said the national government will provide LGUs that lack sufficient funds “necessary resources” to help them purchase vaccines on their own.

“The national government recognizes the crucial role that LGUs have played in our nation’s battle against Covid-19, and soon, in the implementation of the national immunization program,” added Galvez.

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