MANILA – The national government will consolidate the procurement of the coronavirus jabs with the local government units (LGUs) and private sector to avoid a possible wastage of vaccines due to acquiring excessive volumes, officials of the National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19 said Friday.

Walang tapon! Galvez: Nat’l gov’t coordinating with LGUs, private sector to avoid COVID-19 vaccine wastage

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MANILA – The national government will consolidate the procurement of the coronavirus jabs with the local government units (LGUs) and private sector to avoid a possible wastage of vaccines due to acquiring excessive volumes, officials of the National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19 said Friday.

National Policy Against Covid-19 Chief Implementer, and vaccine czar, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said integrated orders of Covid-19 vaccines should be made by the LGUs and the private sector to monitor the procured volumes of the vaccines.

“Considering that at the end, the LGUs along with the Department of Health (DOH) will implement the inoculation program, so our recommendation to them, is to make some sort of public-private partnership at the local level and have an integrated order through the provincial governor,” Galvez said during the resumption of the Senate hearing on the government’s Covid-19 vaccine acquisition program.

Meanwhile, Department of the Interior and Local government (DILG) Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III said they already have issued an advisory to all LGUs who wish to procure vaccines on their own to coordinate with their provincial governments for the purpose of consolidation.

“For the component cities and municipalities, its provincial government will consolidate the procure. For highly urbanized cities and independent component cities, they are allowed to enter already a negotiation or entering to a tripartite agreement with the supplier, but with the presence of the national government,” Densing explained.

Densing said the LGUs are initially allowed to procure only 50 percent of their requirement so that other funds could also be used for their other Covid-19 response programs.

This will also ensure equitable distribution of coronavirus vaccines among LGUs and the private sector, he said.

“We agreed that some of those vaccines [allotted] for the highly urbanized cities who were able to procure, will be reallocated to the smaller LGUs who are not capable of procuring the vaccines,” he added.

The DILG also ordered the LGUs to start generating a master list of their constituents based on the identified priority sectors for the inoculation program, in preparation for the arrival of the Covid-19 jabs in the country.

“With that listing, we can now reconcile together with the listing that we have with the DOH, including of that in the private sector, para hindi ho magkadoble-doble (so that the orders will not be doubled),” Densing said, noting that the government wants to prevent the possible wastage of the vaccines.

Densing cited an estimated 30 percent of the procured vaccines in France have been put to waste due to excessive orders being made.

The two officials made the explanation after Senator Sherwin Gatchalian flagged a particular experience in Valenzuela City, wherein the private sector has also made vaccine orders on their own.

“Just to make sure that we have a mechanism to reconcile all of these volume kasi ang laki nung (because we have a huge fund) allocation natin (it’s) 82 billion for that matter baka sobra-sobra na ho yung nabili natin (we might procure too much)” Gatchalian said.

In response, Galvez said, “LGUs also have to coordinate with the private companies and provide for the private hospital so that they can reconcile their priority sectors.”

“If in case, the LGUs will be able to cover essential workers from the private sector, now the private sector can come in,” he added.

Galvez said only those highly urbanized LGUs with a larger population have volunteered to procure vaccines on their own.

“Kasi po nakikita po nila yung (As they see that) time element on their inoculation will be shortened. That’s our intention that we can have a bigger volume available as soon as possible,” he said.

Galvez said they already advised the LGUs to be on standby in terms of the purchase of vaccines since the national government will also allot equitable volumes of vaccines for each of them.

The national government has already secured 148 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines from various pharmaceutical companies, he said.

The government will also shoulder the vaccine and other logistic requirements for those LGUs that cannot afford to procure vaccines on their own, he added.

The government is still waiting to finalize the supply agreements with pharmaceutical companies including Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, Sinovac, Gamaleya, and Novavax. (PNA)

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Trillanes to military: ‘Stop joining EJK operations of PNP’

Former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV has appealed to the military to avoid joining the alleged extrajudicial killings being conducted by the police.

Trillanes, a former rebel soldier, said the military should stick with fighting the armed combatants instead. The latest appeal was aired in a latest Facebook post of the former lawmaker.

“I am calling on the AFP to stop joining the EJK operations of the PNP. You are better than this,” he wrote on Facebook.

“Just stick to the combatants. Beat them and the front orgs would become irrelevant,” he said.

Trillanes also gave an unsolicited advice to the police force to slow down their operations.

“As for the PNP, magdahan-dahan kayo dahil duterte cannot protect you ‘pag wala na sya sa pwesto,” he said.

Trillanes made the appeal after nine activists were killed while several others were arrested in police and military raids in Calabarzon last weekend. The crackdown happened two days after President Duterte ordered security forces to kill armed communist rebels during an encounter.

I am calling on the AFP to stop joining the EJK operations of the PNP. You are better than this. Just stick to the…

Posted by Antonio "Sonny" Trillanes IV on Sunday, March 7, 2021

Villanueva: Women key to success against Covid-19 pandemic

Senator Joel Villanueva on Monday stressed the key role that women play in defeating the pandemic, saying female leadership would make it possible to win against the most serious health crisis gripping the Philippines and the rest of the world.

In a speech sponsoring Senate Resolution 673 commemorating International Women’s Day, the chair of the Senate labor committee said women now have decisive roles in determining the fate of the country and it was time to acknowledge that.

“If women are with us every step of the way, we cannot lose our way,” Villanueva said in his sponsorship speech.

“If the status of women in society continues to rise, our country will, too,” he said. “And as long as there are women who continue to lead the fight against the pandemic, it is impossible for the people not to be victorious,” he added.

To illustrate the barriers that had been breached by women empowerment, Villanueva recalled his days at the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) as the agency’s head.

“I can say that in various trades dominated by highly-skilled male workers, women are successfully breaking the barriers,” Villanueva said.

“In fact, more than 50 percent of technical-vocational graduates are women and they have proven that by taking courses more popular among men, they can also excel in them,” he added.

“Many Filipino women are now making a decent and stable living as welders, drivers, automotive mechanics,” he said.

Italy mayor accused of vaccine queue-jumping resigns

A town mayor in Italy’s Sicily region said Sunday he was stepping down after coming under fire for jumping the queue for coronavirus vaccinations.

“I spent a sleepless night thinking about this decision and I concluded that it is right for me to resign,” Nicolo Nicolosi, 78, told the ANSA news agency.

Nicolosi, mayor of Corleone, a small town near Palermo, said he was quitting “even if I insist that I made the right choice in getting vaccines for me and city councillors.”

On Saturday, press reports said police were investigating the mayor and other members of the municipal government, and had reported the case to local prosecutors.

The city of Corleone — otherwise famous for inspiring the name of the Mafia boss from “The Godfather” franchise — confirmed on its Facebook page that Nicolosi got two vaccine doses in January.

Italy started its vaccination campaign in late December, reserving the first doses for health workers and people over 80. Like in the rest of Europe, supply shortages have caused delays.

Nicolosi argued that local politicians like him also needed immediate protection against the virus, as frontline workers serving their local communities.

His vaccination was “a conscious choice made to stave off the possibility that any contact with the virus might have forced him to abandon his post on the trenches,” the city of Corleone said on Facebook.

Nicola Morra, a senator from the ruling Five Star Movement and head of the upper chamber’s anti-mafia committee, said Nicolosi was not the only local politician who abused the system.

“Unfortunately we are hearing of several situations in which the rule of law was trampled on,” Morra wrote on Facebook, urging other queue jumpers to follow the example of stepping down.

Italy has so far injected 5.3 million doses of the vaccine and fully vaccinated 1.6 million people, out of a population of 60 million, health ministry data showed Sunday.

New Prime Minister Mario Draghi, sworn in last month, has made it a priority to accelerate vaccine distribution, to contain a pandemic that has killed almost 100,000 people nationwide. © Agence France-Presse

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