Fri. Nov 18th, 2022

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 12) Senator Migz Zubiri clarified on Friday that local governments who intend to buy COVID-19 vaccines for their constituents are still required to enter into tripartite agreements with vaccine makers and the national government under the bill he filed.
This bill was requested by our LGUs, and it will only apply to our LGUs with tripartite agreements, Zubiri, who authored Senate Bill 2042, said in a statement.
He made the statement in response to the Healthcare Professionals’ Alliance Against COVID-19s opposition to the passage of SB 2042, as it states that LGUs may directly buy COVID-19 vaccines. The group believes allowing LGUs to directly procure experimental vaccines will bypass the required recommendations of experts from the Health Technology Assessment Council, lead to the maldistribution of supply, and drive increases in costs.
Zubiri explained that LGUs still need to follow the national guidelines for vaccine deployment set by the Department of Health and the National Task Force against COVID-19.
Under the current setup, COVID-19 vaccine procurement and distribution are handled by the national government since all anti-coronavirus shots are still under development and their use must be strictly monitored should adverse events occur. But LGUs and the private sector could enter into a tripartite agreement with the national government and manufacturers if they wish to secure their own supply. LGUs and the private sector are not required to buy their own vaccines.
Zubiri said his proposed legislation is not going to give LGUs precedence over the national government in terms of vaccine procurement, and it only seeks to exempt LGUs from laws and procurement rules which bar them from making advance payments.
The legislator noted around 70 local government units are negotiating with vaccine suppliers and they need to deposit down payments to secure the shots. If not, they will lose the allocation.
SB 2042 also allows local governments to make up to 50% down payment on COVID-19 vaccines if required by manufacturers during the period of the state of calamity due to the pandemic, which is in effect until September 12 this year. The Government Auditing Code and Memorandum Circular 172, Series of 2005 only authorize the President to allow an advance payment of 15% percent of the contract amount.
A number of local governments have entered into a deal with AstraZeneca and the national government. AstraZeneca is asking for a 20% down payment, San Juan Mayor Francis Zamora, who signed a tripartite agreement with the vaccine maker and the national government, said early this week.