The next challenge, however, is compliance to his instructions by the concerned health authorities – including how long it will take to approve the applications to import their vaccines under the existing tripartite agreement. Then there’s the availability of vaccines in the world market, not to mention the time lag between booking and actual deliveries of the vaccines.
Had the order been issued at the time when the private sector was clamoring to be allowed to procure their own vaccines, subject to the usual existing regulations and protocols issued by the World Health Organization, by now the country would likely have been vaccinating en masse and nearing herd immunity, thanks in large part to the private sector.
Nasa mahigit P126 bilyon na ang aprubadong utang ng bansa para sa pagbili ng bakuna laban sa COVID-19. Pero bukod sa donasyon ng Tsina at COVAX, nasaan ang mga bakunang dapat ay nabili sa pamamagitan ng naturang pondo?
Tanong ito ni Senador Panfilo Lacson matapos tingnan ang impormasyon mula sa World Bank (WB), Asian Development Bank (ADB) at Asian Infrastracture Investment Bank, at ng Department of Finance (DOF).
“Magpakatotoo sana, doon muna sa basic. Sabihin lang ang totoo. So long as the concerned authorities do not recognize the problem, we cannot come up with a solution. Bigyan talaga ang lowdown sa Pilipino at maging decisive sana,” paliwanag ni Lacson sa panayam ng SMNI.
As culled from the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank records and further articulated in a series of official statements from the Department of Finance, we may now have some P126.75 billion in approved loans for COVID vaccines, but the question remains: Where are the vaccines?
Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson raised this question Thursday as he stressed the Filipino people deserve a lowdown from the government on the situation.
Lacson also reiterated his call to the government to treat the private sector as a partner and not as a competitor in the procurement of the much-needed vaccines.
“Magpakatotoo sana, doon muna sa basic. Sabihin lang ang totoo. So long as the concerned authorities do not recognize the problem, we cannot come up with a solution. Bigyan talaga ang lowdown sa Pilipino at maging decisive sana,” he said in an interview on SMNI.
“Don’t treat the President like a mushroom – kept in the dark and fed with S*^t.”
On this note, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson scored the great disservice done to the nation by those responsible for feeding the President false information on the exclusion of the Philippines by the European Union from the vaccine distribution.
The EU had reassured that the Philippines is exempted from such an export ban.
Lacson, one of the authors and the principal sponsor of the measure in the Senate, said the National ID system will promote financial inclusion and streamline government services – both of which are needed at this time.
“The lack of identification creates formidable barriers for the downtrodden and the poor, and creates even larger barriers between the government and the people. Hence, we should push for the implementation of the National ID if we want to further strengthen our response not only against the pandemic, particularly in the roll-out of the much-awaited vaccines, but in many of our future endeavors,” he said at the third annual economic and political briefing of the Colegio de San Juan de Letran Graduate School.
Huwag nang gawing kumplikado ang puwede namang maging simple.
Ito ang panawagan ni Senador Panfilo Lacson sa mga awtoridad kaugnay sa pagpasok sa bansa ng mga donasyon na COVID-19 vaccines na mayroon nang Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) sa mga lugar na may mahigpit na regulatory agencies.
Ang panawagan ay ginawa ng mambabatas sa pangatlong pagdinig na isinagawa ng Senado bilang Committee of the Whole tungkol sa vaccination program ng pamahalaan.
“This is critical because there are many associations abroad that may donate vaccines to their sister cities in the Philippines. Would it not be more practical to ensure the goods reach the intended recipients directly under strict supervision and guidance by health authorities, instead of coursing the goods through the Department of Health and having the DOH distribute them?” banggit ni Lacson.
Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson sought simplified procedures Friday for the entry of donated COVID-19 vaccines, especially those with Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from countries or territories with stringent regulatory agencies.
Lacson made the call during the third hearing of the Senate, convening as a Committee of the Whole, on the government’s vaccination program.
“This is critical because there are many associations abroad that may donate vaccines to their sister cities in the Philippines. Would it not be more practical to ensure the goods reach the intended recipients directly under strict supervision and guidance by health authorities, instead of coursing the goods through the Department of Health and having the DOH distribute them?” he said.
“Besides, many local government units like Baguio City already have their own cold storage facilities for the vaccines, as their local leaders had the foresight to act accordingly. Allowing such donated vaccines to go directly to the LGUs instead of having to go through the logistical requirements of the DOH and Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19 would also avoid the prospect of double handling and additional costs,” he added.
Then came the instruction of President Rodrigo Duterte to Sec. Galvez to brief Senate President Vicente Sotto III. I suggested to them that SP Sotto and I just go together, along with Sen. Ronald de la Rosa.
Sec. Galvez’s briefing clarified a lot of issues and concerns raised by the senators that have remained unresolved until last night. We advised him to explain in tomorrow’s hearing the same way that he did last night, without violating the terms of the agreement with the vaccine suppliers.
On our part, we committed to honor and respect those terms so as not to put in jeopardy the deliveries of the vaccines that he said will start within the first quarter of this year.
I accepted his apology. He promised to be more careful in issuing statements.
We were shown the documents. And we have no doubt about Sec. Galvez’s integrity and his sincerity to accomplish his task.
That said, we advised Sec. Galvez to mind his back, front, left and right sides. He may have the best of intentions but there may be people pushing him out front to do the talking and explaining to take advantage of his credibility while pursuing their own interests. He assured us that he will make it very hard for those people to even have an opening for that opportunity.
We share the same goal – to ensure our people are vaccinated against COVID-19, with no room for overpricing and other irregularities. The executive and legislative departments must work together in this regard.