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Exec: Exempt vaccine program from limit in advance payments

Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado has pushed for the exemption to the policy that limits to 15% the fund for advance payments, saying this policy has drastically affected the flexibility in securing more vaccines.

Avisado pointed out that the limitation, spelled out under Memorandum Order No. 172, s. 2005, is detrimental to the government vaccination program, although an exemption would allow it to bypass the policy.

“Ang gusto ng mga pharmaceutical industries, bayaran mo na. I-aadvance mo na ang payment bago ma-ideliver. In other words, talagang tatalunin tayo ng mga mayayamang bansa (because the Philippines cannot advance the payments entirely),” Avisado said.

The secretary also urged the public to understand the predicament of government in the implementation of the vaccination program, adding that its negotiations with vaccine producers cannot be publicly released because it is bound by the confidentiality agreement with them.

However, he said, there is nothing to be suspicious about the negotiations because the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte has been honest with all its dealings.

He said all deals have been weighed to ensure that government is not at the losing end.

“Bigyan natin ng pagkakataon naman ang ating pamahalaan na makalap muna at makakuha ng vaccine. Kasi hindi pa man nangyayari yan, ay katakot-takot na batikos ang naririnig natin, meron po mga pamamaraan dyan, kung saan makikita’t makikita natin kung meron talagang kalokohan,” Avisado said.

As the government continues to sustain the vaccination program, Avisado said funds have been prudently set aside to ensure that the implementation of the program will not be derailed.

“Meron tayong pondo dyan…. P82.5B ang inilaan ng ating pamahalaan. Wag po tayong mag worry,” he said, adding that local government units have been effectively helping the national government in the implementation of the program, with many of them allocating a portion of their budget to buy vaccines.

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