SENATOR Christopher “Bong” Go commended President Rodrigo Duterte for approving a proposal that would allow the National Task Force Against COVID-19 access to the President’s Contingent Fund for the payment of around 4,000,000 doses of vaccines and its logistical costs for the upcoming June 2021 deliveries.
“Nagpapasalamat po tayo kay Pangulong Duterte dahil pinayagan n’ya na magamit muna ang kanyang Contingent Fund upang pondohan muna ang mga bakuna na darating ngayong buwan at para hindi maalintala ang vaccine rollout sa bansa,“ said Go.
Go said this will ensure continuous and steady supply of vaccines. The move will also ensure that vaccine manufacturers are paid within the month of June, securing the country’s vaccine allocation which is important in the unhampered rollout of the national vaccination program.
“Masisiguro po nito na tuluy-tuloy ang pagdating at pagrollout natin ng COVID-19 vaccines sa buwan na ito, lalo na at inaasahan natin ang expansion ng programa upang mabakunahan na rin ang mga A4 at A5 groups,” he noted.
The World Health Organization has validated last June 1 the Sinovac’s vaccines for emergency use, which is needed to meet the Vaccine Eligibility Criteria set by the Asian Development Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Hence, the banks need time to process the loan financing for the purchase of vaccines.
This prompted vaccine czar Carlito Galvez, Jr., through the Department of Health, to request access to the President’s Contingent Fund under Republic Act No. 11518 or the General Appropriations Act.
The law provides that the fund “shall cover the funding requirements of new or urgent activities or projects of national government agencies, GOCCs, and LGUs that need to be implemented or paid during the year.”
Noting the far-reaching and human costs of the pandemic, Go added that it is imperative that all available assets and facilities be utilized to secure vaccines and stem the ever increasing ramifications of the pandemic on ordinary Filipinos.
“Gawin po natin ang lahat upang masiguro na tuluy-tuloy ang pagbabakuna at walang masayang na oras dahil buhay ng ating mga kababayan ang nakataya rito. Mahalaga rin po na hindi maantala ang ating pagbabakuna upang unti-unti na nating mabuksan ang ating ekonomiya,” Go said.
Earlier, Go called for a whole-of nation approach to raise awareness and public confidence in vaccines in order to address fears and hesitations of some to get inoculated.
As Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Go said that in order to accelerate rollout and attain herd immunity soon, the public must be given the right information as assurance that vaccines are safe, effective, and necessary in order to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Ang atin dito, ilagay natin ang tiwala ng tao sa bakuna. Kapag marami ang naeengganyo, marami ang magpapabakuna. Ang iba kasi nag-aantayan ‘yan … Huwag kayo matakot sa bakuna, magtiwala kayo dahil ito ang solusyon sa pandemyang ‘to,” Go said earlier.
“Ang attitude ng mga Pilipino ay ma-engganyo lang ‘yan ‘pag nakikita nilang maganda ang epekto. Pero habang hindi nila nakikita ang magiging resulta, hindi magpapabakuna ang mga iyan. Kaya po kapag panahon niyo nang magpaturok, huwag na kayo magalinlangan pa,” he said.