BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson discouraged yesterday local government units from purchasing 100 percent of their supply of Covid-19 vaccines, as he took the word of the national government that all Filipinos would be vaccinated.
Lacson recalled that President Rodrigo Duterte assured all Filipinos that they will be vaccinated, apparently referring to 70 percent of the population, excluding 17 years old and below who were not included in the trials.
Lacson said the declarations of Makati and Quezon cities that they can buy their own vaccines prompted the national government to encourage other LGUs to also purchase them for their own needs.
“For me, I will not encourage that,” he added, stressing that the national government intends to vaccinate everybody.
“But if some want to, that’s fine,” Lacson said.
But he said he is not encouraging LGUs that already signified their intention to buy vaccines, to secure 100 percent of the supplies.
Some LGUs, especially municipalities, aired reservations over the purchase of vaccines, for lack of budget, while others, including EB Magalona, already sought the help of other sectors of society, especially private firms and businesses, to take care of their own employees.
“We will make sure these LGUs will be covered by the program on the roll out of vaccines of the national government,” Lacson said.
But he said that the national government cannot select vaccines for them, adding that what is available at that given time will be the one offered to them.
Lacson will hold a meeting, via zoom, with Negros Occidental mayors today, to determine who are willing to purchase vaccines for their constituents.
Mayor Salvador Escalante said that the Cadiz city government can appropriate P30 million for the purchase of vaccines, although they have a P100-million budget to fight Covid-19.
The provincial government of Negros Occidental had signed a multi-lateral agreement with the Department of Health, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez, and the AstraZeneca pharmaceutical firm for the purchase of 100,000 doses of vaccine. Lacson said he is hoping that they can duplicate it, this time, to include other LGUs and the private sector that signified their willingness to be part of the procurement program, of which 50 percent will be donated to the provincial government.*