Legazpi to set aside P200-M for Covid-19 vaccines

The city government would initially set aside PHP200 million for the purchase of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccines to inoculate some 200,000 residents, the City Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) said on Thursday.

Mayor Noel Rosal, who heads the local body, said that after consultation with the city finance committee, the latter agreed to earmark the amount to be sourced from the city’s Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) for this year.

Rosal, in a phone interview, said the city government’s budget and finance units are laying down the vaccination procurement scheme before seeking clearance from the Department of Finance (DOF) to make the purchase.

“We need to prepare the funds so that we can start to order the needed vaccines so as to return back to our normal life,” he said.

The clearance from the DOF would allow the city government to use a certain amount from the 20-percent development funds, 70 percent of pre-disaster calamity funds, and an infrastructure budget of about PHP100 million, the city chief executive said.

When asked how much IRA will the city government receive, Rosal said they are expecting PHP800 million for this year. “We are expecting more once the Mandanas Doctrine is implemented,” he added.

Under the Mandanas Doctrine, the Supreme Court ruled that local government units’ (LGUs) IRA would be increased by way of shares from all taxes collected by the national government such as tariff and customs duties, taxes collected from the exploitation and development of the national wealth; excise taxes, those from value-added tax or VAT, and franchise taxes.

The National League of City Mayors comprising 140 members would meet on January 12 with Social Welfare Secretary Rolando Bautista to discuss issues that would allow LGUs to order and purchase Covid-19 vaccines directly from the pharmaceutical companies accredited by the national government.

It will also ask the IATF for a 50/50 percentage share in the vaccine procurement procedure, meaning the national government would shoulder 50 percent of the cost while the LGU would shoulder the other 50 percent.

Rosal said the city has an estimated 200,000 residents that need to be inoculated, which means it needs some PHP700 million to finance the procurement at PHP3,500 each. Once the 50/50 sharing is approved, the city government would shell out PHP350 million.

Libon Mayor Wilfredo Maronilla, president of the League of Municipal Mayors in Albay, said in a separate interview, LGUs would recommend that priority for vaccination be given to the front-liners, senior citizens, people with comorbidity, pregnant women, children, and the poor.

Source: Philippines News agency

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