House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco on Thursday lauded President Rodrigo Duterte’s move to certify as urgent a measure establishing a vaccine indemnity fund and expediting the purchase of vaccines against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
Velasco said House Bill 8648 seeks to expedite the purchase and administration of vaccines to ensure that all Filipinos, particularly the elderly and those in the marginalized sectors, will be inoculated and protected from the deadly disease.
The measure provides exemptions to compliance by local government units with the procurement requirements under Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act in the purchase of Covid-19 vaccines and other much-needed supplies during the pandemic.
The vaccines will be exempted from customs duties, value-added tax, excise tax, and other fees provided that the shots to be acquired by LGUs “shall only be used for their residents and constituents, and not for commercial distribution.”
“The President’s certification of the bill as urgent will also help our LGUs transition to some kind of normalcy as we aim to further open the economy to help the business sector reopen and reemploy those who have been displaced by the pandemic,” Velasco said.
Another important feature of the bill is the creation and administration of an indemnification fund for the adverse events following immunization.
Velasco also welcomed Duterte’s memorandum order allowing LGUs to make a 50 percent advance payment to manufacturers for the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines.
“This is an important step in our fight to defeat the spread of Covid-19 as this allows the speedy procurement of the most effective vaccines by LGUs cognizant that any delay would have serious consequences on how we move forward from this pandemic,” he said.