BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – You will have to excuse me, but I will try to the best of my ability not to pay what you are billing us.
Mayor Alfredo Abelardo ‘Albee’ Benitez recalls telling that to a representative of Astra Zeneca after the pharmaceutical firm billed City Hall for the remaining P98 million for the 650,000 doses of COVID vaccines the previous Leonardia administration had ordered from it.
Benitez said in a presser today that the Leonardia government “overordered” doses for the more than 600,000 residents here for the government’s vaccination campaign
He said the Leonardia government “miscalculated” the orders but did not mention the right amount of doses needed.
The Leonardia government had ordered vaccines from AstraZeneca amounting to P163 million, leaving the current administration with a P98 million unpaid balance to the company.
The Department of Health Central Office reportedly still holds about 430,000 unused AstraZeneca doses for Bacolod as only more than 200,000 were used in the city.
Meanwhile, almost 300,000 of these vaccine stocks have already expired and the remaining 100,000 estimated doses have only two weeks of shelf life left.
The Bacolod City Public Information Office had reported on 23 February 2021 that City Hall had paid Astra Zeneca P31 million representing 20 percent of the total amount it ordered from the company.
Benitez said the previous administration did not accept these remaining doses as vaccine boosters were already being rolled out.
He added that he would rather devote all this money to projects that Bacolodnons could benefit from.
“We will see how that thing goes, but I would rather put that money somewhere else where ma-usar sang aton mga pumuluyo,” he said.