SENATOR Christopher “Bong” Go has urged the Commission on Audit (COA) to do its mandate and audit funds used for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines in light of issues on vaccine wastage.
“Sa ngayon, gawin ng COA ang kanyang mandato to conduct a thorough audit and compel the agencies involved na magsubmit po ng mga required reports,” said Go during an ambush interview after personally aiding indigents in Biñan City, Laguna on Thursday, December 1.
Go also called for transparency when asked if there should be accountability for the issue of vaccine wastage.
“Ako naman po, I am for transparency. Ano po ang katotohanan, ano bang nangyari, bakit nag-expire po ito? Napalitan na ba ito ng mga bagong bakuna?” said Go.
“Sinabi nila, ng DOH (Department of Health) na papalitan raw po ito ng mga bagong bakuna mula sa COVAX. Napalitan na ba ito? Bakit nag-expire? Bakit nasayang? I am for transparency,” he added.
Go stressed that every centavo of public funds is important. Therefore, it is important for the people to know where their money went.
“Pera po ito ng gobyerno, bawat piso, bawat sentimo po ay napakahalaga po na malaman ng taumbayan ang katotohanan,” he said.
After the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank called for a special audit of the vaccine loans they have awarded to the Philippine government, the Department of Health stated that it will be proactive in ensuring that the public funds used for the purchase of COVID-19 vaccinations are well-spent. The agency also requested for the same audit from COA.
As of right now, the DOH is in the midst of bivalent vaccine procurement talks with vaccine makers Moderna and Pfizer. Bivalent vaccines will be accessible in the country by the end of the year, according to the DOH, or in the first quarter of 2023.
Meanwhile, the government has not determined whether to purchase the second-generation COVID-19 vaccines or the bivalent vaccines that protect against the Omicron form, according to Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno.
Go has been persistently urging Filipinos to get their complete COVID-19 vaccine and booster shots in order to prevent vaccine wastage.
“Malaking aksaya po ito hindi lang sa pera ng gobyerno pati rin po sa pribadong sektor na bumili o mga nag-donate. Noong panahon na nangailangan tayo ng bakuna, nagmamadali ang gobyerno.
Kulang ang supply at naniguro tayong walang shortage ng bakuna, ngayon sumobra dahil ang iba po ay ayaw nang magpabakuna,” he lamented.
“Kung hindi pa kayo bakunado, pakiusap po na magpabakuna na kayo at magpa-booster shot na rin kung kuwalipikado na. Sa totoo lang po, ang bakuna ang malaking factor kung bakit unti-unti na tayong nakakaahon mula sa hagupit ng pandemya. Kung bakunado, mas protektado!,” he urged.