BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – Lone District Cong. Greg G. Gasataya has co-authored two bills that would, among others, allow for the emergency buying of COVID19 vaccines, and authorize local governments to buy these.
The bills also outline the guidelines for the deployment of the vaccines and identify the guidelines that must be followed.
The two bills – 8648 and 8649 – are expected to be consolidated into a committee report along with recommendations from the House Committee on Ways and Means.
Gasataya said he will move for its passage at the committee level after which it will go to the House plenary for voting.
House Bill 8648 – principally authored by House Speaker Lourd Allan Velasco, Cong. Martin Romualdez and Negros solon Joseph Stephen “Caraps” Paduano – is titled “An Act Expediting the Procurement and Administration of Vaccines for Protection Against the Coronavirus Disease 2019 by Providing Exemptions to Compliance with the Procurement Requirements Under Republic Act 9184, Otherwise Known As the “Government Procurement Reform Act, ” and Other Purposes.
House Bill 8649, on the other hand, was introduced by Cong. Junie Cua that seeks to exempt LGUs from complying with the Procurement Law and the Auditing Code of the Philippines.
Cua is proposing in the bill that provincial, city and town governments “…may directly purchase vaccines for the protection against the… (COVID-19) and secure other goods and services necessary for their storage, transport and distribution.”
He is also seeking that local units be allowed to pay in advance not more than 50 percent of the contract price if required by the supplier, manufacturer, distributor, contractor or consultant.
The measure also requires LGUs, “for purposes of transparency” to post in a conspicuous place of the procuring unit the following information: approved budget for the contract; name of the supplier, manufacturer, distributor, contractor or consultant; and amount of contract as awarded.
If approved, the law shall be in full force and effect only until 12 September 2021 unless the state of calamity is earlier lifted or extended by the President of the Philippines.