Manila raising P1B for vaccines; San Juan also bares plans | Inquirer News

Manila raising P1B for vaccines; San Juan also bares plans

READY TO ROLL Mayors Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso of Manila (above, left) and Francis Zamora of San Juan discuss their local governments’ COVID-19 immunization plans at Wednesday’s Inquirer webinar moderated by Inquirer Associate Publisher Juliet Labog-Javellana.

MANILA, Philippines — Manila will raise as much as P1 billion to acquire vaccines against COVID-19 for its residents, while San Juan City will pitch in P50 million to augment the national government’s budget for the purchase of millions of vaccine doses.

The local governments declared their financial readiness to help their constituents survive the pandemic on Wednesday as Senate and House leaders agreed to earmark P72.5 billion for the purchase of coronavirus vaccines in the 2021 national budget.


‘Fallback’ budget

But only P2.5 billion of the appropriation could be immediately funded as the bulk would rely heavily on foreign borrowings. It would certainly be not enough to inoculate even half of the 70 million Filipinos needed for “herd immunity” to attain the level of protection from disease. (See related story on this page.)

Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso said P1 billion could be used by the city council on top of the P250 million it had already earmarked for the acquisition of COVID-19 vaccines.


“We are addressing the current scenario and probability of the real scenario,” Domagoso said in an INQlusive webinar series during the Inquirer’s 35th anniversary on Wednesday.

He said the council could appropriate the P1-billion “fallback” from the public works budget. “We cancel construction of infrastructures in Manila,” he said.

“We are … ready for the [administration] of vaccines. Once there is already [a vaccine accredited], we will start. Why is it important for the city of Manila to have this? It will give a certain level of confidence. If a person is vaccinated, there is proof to it. We can decrease their anxieties. It’s a simple assurance,” he said.

Domagoso said the vaccines would be apart from those to be provided by the national government.

He said the city “redesigned” its 2020 funds to respond to the pandemic, crafting 50 ordinances for the past 10 months for the purpose.

City ordinance

Also speaking in the Inquirer’s webinar series, San Juan Mayor Francis Zamora said the city council had signed an ordinance allocating P50 million for the procurement of vaccines.

“Us mayors really are just waiting for a vaccine. Whatever the final decision may be, we will allocate funds to augment the national government’s budget. We are not relying solely on the national government because we do not know the system yet,” Zamora said.

He said it was better to pitch in funds for the national government’s purchase since the price of the vaccine may be lower, and the administration may use San Juan’s emergency funds “in case a problem comes up in terms of funding.” INQ

For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.
What you need to know about Coronavirus.
For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

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TAGS: coronavirus pandemic, coronavirus Philippines, Manila funding for COVID-19 vaccines, San Juan funding for COVID-19 vaccines
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