BY ADRIAN P. NEMES III
The Sangguniang Panlungsod of Bacolod City unanimously approved yesterday a resolution allowing Mayor Evelio Leonardia to enter into a multi-lateral agreement with AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals Philippines Inc. for the purchase of vaccines against the coronavirus disease 2019.
Bacolod Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran, who was the presiding officer at the special session of the SP yesterday, said the agreement will be entered into by the city government together with the national government.
Familiaran said the National Task Force against Covid-19 and the Department of Health will also be part of the accord.
Leonardia said he is grateful to the SP for acting on his request swiftly as AstraZeneca will only deal with LGUs that were given authority to enter into agreements with the company.
Familiaran said that aside from Bacolod, other local government units in the Philippines have already entered into agreements with Astra-Zeneca.
With the authority given him by the SP, Leonardia said it will be a big leap towards the city’s aspiration to purchase anti-Covid vaccines for its residents.
He said that the vaccines of AstraZeneca are supported by Oxford but the League of Cities of the Philippines, of which he is the president, is also in talks with other pharmaceutical firms for the purchase of more vaccines.
The LCP will meet with national policy against Covid-19 chief implementer, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., to discuss the procurement of the vaccines on Jan. 12.
It also plans to invite representatives from the DBM, Department of Interior and Local Government, and Department of Education to discuss the plan on the vaccine acquisition.
Familiaran added that the pharmaceutical firm is expected to deliver 2.6 million vaccines as part of the initial phase.
The DOH has identified Iloilo and Bacolod City as the two priority areas in Western Visayas for the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines.
Bacolod had already formed a council to fast-track the purchase of vaccines for its residents.
Earlier, the national government assured that it will fund the acquisition of vaccines and if the fund of the Department of Budget and Management is not enough, they will ask the LGUs to augment it.
But Familiaran said that, recently, the national government announced that LGUs will be the ones to purchase the vaccines and if they do not have enough funds, that will be the time that they will share an amount as counterpart.
The SP also approved a resolution yesterday authorizing Leonardia to sign a confidentiality agreement with the pharmaceutical firm. Both resolutions were authored by Councilor Dindo Ramos, chairman of the SP Committee on Laws and Ordinances.*