BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Despite limited budgets, mayors of two northern Negros Occidental municipalities are planning to allot funds for the purchase of vaccines against Covid for their constituents.
EB Magalona Mayor Marvin Malacon said yesterday that they can afford to allocate P10 to P20 million for the purchase of the vaccines, that will benefit 60 percent of the town population, or equivalent to P40,000 to 45,000 residents.
With the allocation, Malacon said he expects that other programs of the town will be sacrificed, but added that the vaccination will be his priority.
Malacon also expressed his support to the stand of Negros Occidental mayors to authorize Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson to negotiate with a pharmaceutical company for the purchase of the vaccines.
Toboso Mayor Richard Jaojoco also said the town can earmark about P16 million for the purchase of vaccines, for its 32,000 residents. This would also mean a realignment of funds for various projects, and budgets for the fiesta and cultural activities.
“It is important that we prioritize the vaccines for our people,” Jaojoco said.
Lacson had earlier urged the League of Municipalities of the Philippines Negros Occidental chapter to strongly suggest to vaccine czar Carlito Galvez that the national government provides a big percentage of free vaccines, especially to the 4th and 5th class municipalities.
Almost all cities of Negros Occidental have already signified intentions to allocate funds for the vaccines.
Lacson raised the possibility that 4th or 5th class municipalities cannot afford to buy the vaccines, although encouraged to do so by the national government, because of limited budgets. The provincial government of Negros Occidental entered into a multilateral agreement with AstraZeneca for the acquisition of 100,000 doses for 50,000 individuals, with medical frontliners to be given priority in the vaccination program.*