The Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP), in a special session yesterday, presided over by Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran, has authorized Mayor Evelio Leonardia to contract with AstraZeneca to avail of vaccines against COVID-19.
AstraZeneca, a multinational pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Cambridge, England, has partnered with the University of Oxford in developing a vaccine against COVID-19.
The SP has also authorized Leonardia to sign the Confidentiality Agreement between AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals (Philippines) and the City of Bacolod on the proposed business arrangements for the availability and distribution of the vaccine.
Leonardia said, “I would like to thank Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran and the Sangguniang Panlungsod for immediately granting my request for an authority to sign the non-disclosure agreement with AstraZeneca and the multilateral agreement between and among AstraZeneca, the national government through the National Task Force Against COVID-19, the Department of Health, and the City Government of Bacolod.”
“The SP authority is a major step towards eventually availing of the vaccine for the people of Bacolod,” he added.
“We have to get the vaccines as soon as possible, and even if we just start with AstraZeneca, we can now say that the process for getting it is rolling,” he added.
The SP authority to contract with AstraZeneca came a day after the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP), headed by Leonardia as national president, and the LCP Committee on Vaccine Availment, chaired by Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas, met with top officials of AstraZeneca in a virtual dialog.
Meanwhile, Leonardia said the City Government will coordinate with the LCP to hold exploratory talks with as many other pharmaceutical companies regarding the procurement of COVID vaccines.
He revealed that the LCP officials and the LCP Committee on Vaccine Availment will hold a virtual dialog with Vaccine Czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., who is also the chief implementer of the National Task Force, and officials of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on January 12 to discuss and synchronize the ongoing efforts of the national government and those of the cities for the vaccine procurement.
Based on their previous virtual meeting with Galvez last Dec. 29, the national government is requesting that city governments allocate their funds first so that the national government can then efficiently and equitably distribute vaccines that it shall procure with priority to be given to those LGUs with funding deficiencies, and to areas where herd immunity is targeted.
Leonardia said the LCP is collaborating with the Department of Health, Department of Budget and Management, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government to arrive at a consensual decision on the procurement of the vaccines, which, as of now, can only be done at the level of the national government. Leonardia further clarified that LGUs cannot independently procure the vaccines without clearance from the national government.
Galvez earlier said the national government has earmarked P1.3 billion to buy at least 150 million vaccines for the mass vaccination this year.
(News & photo courtesy of Bacolod City Public Information Office)