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Velasco: House staff, media to get COVID-19 shots

Lawmakers' inoculation to only happen if there will be spare vaccines
/ 04:52 PM December 16, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Speaker Lord Allan Velasco on Wednesday said employees of the House of Representatives and members of their family, as well as media personnel assigned to cover the lower chamber, will be inoculated with the COVID-19 vaccine.

This, as he announced that the legislative body has set aside funds for the procurement of the coronavirus shot.

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Velasco said House employees and five of their immediate family members, as well as the media, will be prioritized in the vaccination initiative of Congress.

“We’ve decided that for the normalcy of business in Congress, we’ve decided to set aside a certain amount for the vaccines, for purchasing of vaccines for our employees times five. So five of their immediate family members will be included, mainly because we want the legislative mill to be grinding,” Velasco told reporters in an online press briefing.

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“Siyempre po, naisip ko rin ang ating media friends who are also considered as our family. We will include our media friends to be part of the vaccines.”

He added: “Ang members of the House, hindi muna. We’ll start to get the vaccines first for the employees and the media… And kung may natira, then that’s the time we use them for the House members and also five of the immediate members of their family.”

The House leader said they are looking to set aside at least P50 million from the internal budget of Congress for the procurement of the vaccines.

The national government has a total of P72.5 billion allocation for COVID-19 vaccines under the proposed P4.5-trillion national budget for 2021.

Of the budget, P2.5 billion are programmed funds lodged with the Department of Health (DOH), while the other P70 billion is under unprogrammed appropriations.

READ: Bicam OKs proposed 2021 nat’l budget

According to Senator Sonny Angara, chair of the Senate finance committee, at least P10 billion funds are also available for vaccine procurement under the Bayanihan To Recover As One Act or Bayanihan 2.

READ: At least P72-B allocated for COVID-19 vaccine under final version of 2021 budget–Angara 

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TAGS: Congress, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Health, House of Representatives, NcoV, pandemic, Philippines, SARS-CoV-2, vaccine, Virus
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