Budget chief wants eased limitation on advance payment for COVID-19 vaccines
MANILA, Philippines — There is a need to ease the limitation on advance payments for the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines, Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado said Friday.
Avisado said easing the limitation on advance payments for the Covid-19 vaccines will ensure the timely and efficient implementation of the country’s inoculation plan.
Currently, Republic Act No. 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act only allows advance payment equivalent to only a maximum of 15 percent of the cost of government-financed projects.
“Ang gusto ng mga pharmaceutical industries, bayaran mo na. Ia-advance mo na ang payment bago ma-ideliver… In other words, talagang tatalunin tayo ng mga mayayamang bansa,” Avisado said.
(Pharmaceutical firms want that payment be made before delivery. In other words, wealthier countries will get ahead of us.)
Avisado likewise called for greater patience and understanding from the public regarding the vaccine procurement process, saying that the government cannot divulge specific details on its negotiations with pharmaceutical companies—such as prices and the manners of delivery—as both parties are bound by a confidentiality agreement.
Nonetheless, the budget secretary assured that all of the transactions made by the government remain legitimate and honest.
“Bigyan natin ng pagkakataon naman ang ating pamahalaan na makalap muna at makakuha ng vaccine (Let’s give our government a chance to get the vaccines first),” Avisado said.
“Kasi hindi pa man nangyayari yan, ay katakot-takot na batikos ang naririnig natin, meron po mga pamamaraan dyan, kung saan makikita’t makikita natin kung meron talagang kalokohan,” he added.
(Because even before it happens, there are already criticisms. There is a process where we will see if there are irregularities.)
Avisado also assured the public that the budget for the said vaccines has already been allocated and is now ready for release.
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