Voting 225 with six abstentions, the House of Representatives approved on its third and final reading the bill that seeks to expedite the government’s coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine procurement.
The approval came after President Rodrigo Roa Duterte certified as urgent Senate Bill 2057 and House Bill 8648, which both ensure and allow local governments to purchase vaccines in advance, expediting the procurement process.
Both versions also allocate PHP500 million as compensation for persons who may suffer adverse effects of COVID-19 vaccines.
It also allows local government units to accept donations from the private sector or purchase an equivalent of 50% of their total population. The bill seeks to exempt vaccines from customs duties, value-added tax, excise tax, donor’s tax, and other fees.
LGU’s can only purchase vaccines through a multi-party agreement, involving the National Task Force, the Department of Health (DOH), and the vaccine supplier.
Public officials, employees, contractors, volunteers, and representatives of the private sector will also be exempt from any liability should problems arise with regard to effects after the inoculation.