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Mayors support vaccination program

The League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) has committed to support the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccination program of the national government in a bid to ensure vaccine supply for its member-cities.

Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia, national president of the 145-member LCP, said in a statement yesterday that the procurement and allocation of vaccines is “a matter of teamwork” between and among the national government and the local government units.

Leonardia said vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez could discuss the concerns of the LGUs with the Government Procurement Policy Board (GPPB) “to be more realistic and more understanding about the situation.”

“The COA (Commission on Audit) and the GPPB will play a vital role here,” he added.

Leonardia last month formed the LCP Committee on Vaccine Availment for the city mayors to strategize efforts to ensure their own constituents have early access to quality and affordable vaccines.

The body is tasked to coordinate and consult with the Covid-19 National Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, Department of Health, Food and Drug Administration, Department of Budget and Management, and other related agencies; carry out collective and advantageous vaccine availment by the cities; and undertake other activities related to vaccine procurement.

Leonardia, Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas, chair of the LCP Committee on Vaccine Availment, and other city mayors, discussed the plan of the cities to procure their own vaccines and other similar concerns during a virtual meeting with Galvez held on Dec. 29.

“What we will campaign for is for more of the cities to (have) really appropriate funds of their own to help out the national government,” Treñas said.

Zamboanga City Mayor Beng Climaco, a committee member, suggested to come up with a master list of LGUs and their resources available for vaccine procurement, in coordination with the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the COA.

Galvez said President Rodrigo Duterte is glad that there are city mayors volunteering to buy their own Covid-19 vaccines, and cities that have no budget will be given more allocation by the national government.

“Once we get the master list, regardless of cities, with or without funds, we will have an equitable distribution,” he added.

Galvez said the P1.3-billion budget allocated to the national government can procure at least 150 million vaccines this year.

ILOILO CITY, ISABELA UNDER MGCQ

Meanwhile, Isabela province and Iloilo City have been downgraded to the least stringent modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Malacañang said.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that only the National Capital Region, provinces of Batangas, Lanao del Sur, and Davao del Norte, and the cities of Santiago, Tacloban, Iligan, and Davao will remain under general community quarantine. He said all other areas are placed under MGCQ.

“The risk-level classifications take effect Jan. 1-31,” Roque said. Isabela and Iloilo City were initially included in the list of areas under a GCQ that was announced by Duterte in his public address on Dec. 28.*PNA

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