Mayor Evelio Leonardia announced that the City of Bacolod has made an advance initial payment of P31 million to AstraZeneca for the 650,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines it contracted with the pharmaceutical company.
“The initial payment practically consummates our contract for these critical vaccine supplies. We wanted to close the agreement as early as we could and that is why we made the payment ahead of the February 24 deadline,” Leonardia said.
“That should ensure the delivery of the AstraZeneca vaccines starting the 3rd Quarter. This is a step forward for our consolidated vaccine program,” the mayor said.
“Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran and the SP members played a vital role in this process. We also salute our City Administrator Em Ang, City Legal Officer Atty. Joselito Bayatan, and Acting City Treasurer Arlene Memoria in making sure that we beat the deadline,” the mayor added.
Memoria said the City has deposited P31,219,500 with AstraZeneca last February 22, which represented 20 percent of the total cost of the 650,000 vaccines from AstraZeneca, which has also acknowledged receipt of the initial payment.
Last week, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Presidential Memorandum No. 51 granting authority to local governments to make advance payments exceeding the 15 percent limit for the procurement of the COVID-19 vaccines.
The Memorandum Order comes after the League of Cities of the Philippines, led by Leonardia as national president, had asked the President for an executive order allowing the LGUs to make advance payments to drug manufacturers they contracted ahead of a February 24 deadline.
Aside from AstraZeneca, Leonardia is also negotiating with other pharmaceutical companies that are developing COVID-19 vaccines.