A P-100 million Supplemental Investment Plan (SIP) for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines is now awaiting the approval of the Provincial Development Council (PDC).
Provincial Administrator Kathyrin Pioquinto who also chairs the province’s Local Finance Committee said on Friday that Gov. Art Yap greenlit the proposed SIP during a meeting of the LFC on Thursday.
The allocation under the SIP will not be sourced from the provincial government’s coffers but through national government agencies.
“Even with national government agencies, og mo request ta og funding, ilaha g’yud ng requirement na ma apil na siya sa SIP as duly approved by the Provincial Development Council,” said Pioquinto.
If approved by the PDC, which is chaired by Yap, the proposal will then be submitted to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.
According to Pioquinto, the province’s goal is to inoculate 70 percent of the island’s population to achieve herd immunity.
The province is hoping to acquire vaccines from AstraZeneca which would be ideal considering its easier storage compared with other vaccines such as those of Pfizer, Inc. that need to be kept inside ultra-low temperature freezers.
“Ang AstraZeneca ang pinakapractical logistics-wise for the Philippines because it only requires a normal freezer in terms of storage kay kadrong sa Pfizer and Novavax they need about negative 70 degrees Celsius otherwise madaot ang vaccine,” she said.
Medical frontliners and the elderly who are more prone to severe cases of COVID-19 will be prioritized in the province’s vaccination drive.
“Just because you are willing to pay, it doesn’t mean that you will get the first hack of the vaccine,” she said.
However, there are still no COVID-19 vaccines that have been approved by the country’s Food and Drug Administration.
There is still no clear date as to when the jabs will be available in the country, but Pioquinto noted that these could arrive in the “second or third quarter” of the year.
While the national government has not presented a clear plan on its vaccine acquisition, several local government units have allocated their own budgets for the procurement of the jabs.
Among the LGUs that have set aside funds for the vaccine are Mandaluyong City with P200 million, Makati City with P1 billion, Pasig City with P300 million and Pasay City with P250 million.
The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) also earmarked P500 million for their vaccine acquisition.
Bohol’s capital city, Tagbilaran, also earmarked an initial P10 million for vaccines. (R. Tutas)