“We are very thankful to President Rodrigo Duterte for the timely issuance of Memorandum Order 51 that will allow cities to make advance payments for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines. This has a direct impact, especially to cities which had earlier signed the Multilateral Agreement with the Department of Health (DOH), National Task Force Against COVID-19, and AstraZeneca. But this will, more importantly, benefit all LGUs similarly situated.”
This was the statement of LCP national president and Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia upon learning that Duterte has signed today, 18 February 2020, Presidential Memorandum No. 51 “granting authority to LGUs to make advance payments for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines.”
“This is definitely a giant leap towards accelerating the implementation of our local vaccination programs. Bacolod City is among the top 5 direct beneficiaries along with Davao, Quezon, Makati and Manila for having the biggest volume of allocated vaccine supply,” the mayor said in a press release.
Leonardia added: “We also acknowledge the hard work of Secretary Charlie Galvez and the participation of Senator Bong Go which made this a reality. Furthermore, we thank COA chairman Mike Aguinaldo for enlightening and guiding the city mayors when policies and procedures were still being processed.”
Galvez is the chief implementer of the National Task Force Against COVID-19, while Go is the chair of the Senate Committee on Health.
Galvez told reporters in Filipino that this was “good news,” especially since the government is about to make advance payment for AstraZeneca.
As this developed, Leonardia said the City Government of Bacolod is preparing the advance payment of 20 percent, as per contract, of the total cost of 650,000 doses of vaccines it will procure from Astra Zeneca.
“We make sure the City will settle the payment before the deadline to ensure that we get the delivery of the vaccines starting the 3rd Quarter of this year,” the mayor added.
It can be recalled that the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP), an organization of all the city mayors in the country, adopted Resolution No. 2021-01 during its Special General Assembly last February 4, appealing to the Office of President to issue an executive order to authorize city mayors to make advance payments for the COVID-19 vaccines contracted by city governments.
“We need the intervention of President Rodrigo Duterte to pursue our availment of the vaccines. With his authority to allow advance payment, our local vaccination program can be set in accelerated motion,” Leonardia had said.
During its prior Special General Assembly last Jan. 12 which was attended by 114 city mayors, the LCP agreed to partner with the national government in implementing the COVID-19 vaccination program. The League took initiatives in encouraging cities to procure their vaccines to ensure that the target population is vaccinated.
As a result of this initiative and in coordination with the National Task Force Against COVID-19, several cities have already entered into tripartite agreements with AstraZeneca pharmaceutical company under the “A Dose of Hope” program last January 14.
About 300 companies and 39 LGUs from across the country pitched in for the purchase of AstraZeneca’s vaccines.
AstraZeneca is asking for a 20 percent down payment, said San Juan Mayor Francis Zamora, who signed a tripartite agreement with the vaccine maker and the national government.
Pursuant to Presidential Decree 1445, local government units need an express authorization and issuance from President Duterte such as an Executive Order allowing them to procure vaccines and proceed with the required advance payment market provision in their respective agreements with the pharmaceutical companies.
In the same press briefing, Palace spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said that local governments could make up to 50 percent down payment on COVID-19 vaccines.*/