MANILA, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government Monday welcomed the recent signing of a memorandum allowing local chief executives to make advance payments for coronavirus vaccines exceeding the 15% limit set under national procurement laws.
Memorandum Order No. 15 signed by President Rodrigo Duterte authorizes the National Task Force Against COVID-19 and the health department to make advance payments of more than 15% of the total contract amount for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines.
Before the memo, the implementing rules and regulations of the existing Government Procurement Reform Act stated that an advance payment “shall be made only after prior approval of the President, and shall not exceed 15 percent of the contract amount, unless otherwise directed by the President.”
In a statement issued Monday morning, Interior Undersecretary Bernardo Florece said that the order is a welcome development to hasten the acquisition of COVID-19 vaccines for all adult Filipino citizens.
“This development will ascertain that both the NTF and the LGUs will speed up the process of securing COVID-19 vaccines for their constituents. This is a big step to speed up the process of buying vaccines for our people,” Florece said in his statement.
The memo takes effect immediately after its issuance and will remain until the lifting of the state of calamity.
As it stands, many local governments in the country have signalled their intent to secure coronavirus jabs for their constituents ahead of the much-delayed rollout of the national vaccination program.
Florece in his statement also reminded all LGUs that the memorandum also provides that the procurement and payment of vaccines are still subject to authorization from NTF chief implementer Carlito Galvez, Jr as well as “subject to the criteria and limits to be identified by the NTF and Department of Health, consistent with applicable laws, rules, and regulations.”
“We wish to remind the LGUs that all negotiations must follow the tripartite process involving the national government and the pharmaceutical companies they wish to purchase from,” he added.
— Franco Luna