Palace OK mayors’ request for advance payment for COVID-19 vaccines

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President Rodrigo Duterte signed today, February 18, the memorandum order on exceeding the fifteen percent limit on advanced payments for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines and the certification of urgency of the bills establishing a vaccine indemnity fund, the Presidential Communications Operations Office confirms.

The order came after the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP), headed by Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia as national president, made an appeal to to the president to issue an Executive Order authorizing city mayors to make advance payments for the COVID-19 vaccines contracted by city governments. The LCP adopted Resolution No. 2021-01 containing this appeal, during its Special General Assembly last February 4.

Malacañang however has yet to release an official copy of the signed order.

But in a statement released to the media, the PCOO said: “We are confident that both documents would ensure the timely and efficient implementation of the government’s COVID-19 mass vaccination program.”

It can be recalled that the LCP, during its Special General Assembly last Jan. 12 which was attended by 114 city mayors, agreed to partner with the national government in implementing the COVID-19 vaccination program.

The League took initiatives in encouraging cities to procure their vaccines to ensure that the target population is vaccinated.

As a result of this initiative and in coordination with the National Task Force on COVID-19, several cities have already entered into tripartite agreements with AstraZeneca pharmaceutical company under the “A Dose of Hope” program last January 14, including the City of Bacolod.

However, pursuant to Presidential Decree 1445, local government units need an express authorization and issuance from Duterte such as an Executive Order allowing them to procure vaccines and proceed with the required advance payment market provision in their respective agreements with the pharmaceutical companies.