Duterte signs bill to hasten Covid-19 vaccine purchase; set up P500M indemnity fund
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law a measure that would expedite the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines and establish a P500-million indemnity fund, Malacañang confirmed Friday.
“We are confident that the signing of this landmark piece of legislation would expedite the procurement and administration of vaccines for the protection against Covid-19,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.
Otherwise known as the “Covid-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021,” the new law authorizes the national government, local government units (LGUs), and the private sector to procure vaccines against the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which causes the respiratory illness, through the National Task Force Against Covid-19 (NTF) and Department of Health (DOH).
It also allows LGUs to directly procure the ancillary supplies and services necessary for the storage, transport, and deployment of the vaccines.
Further, it exempts LGUs from certain provisions of existing procurement laws such as the Government Procurement Reform Act, the Government Auditing Code of the Philippines, and the Local Government Code in their bid to obtain Covid-19 jabs.
Another salient point of the new law is the P500 million national indemnity fund to compensate any individual vaccinated against Covid-19, in case of death or for the treatment of the vaccine’s possible adverse effects.
The indemnity fund will be managed by state insurer Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) and will be sourced from the contingent fund under the 2021 national budget.
According to the government, the lack of an indemnity deal earlier has delayed the delivery of Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines that were initially expected to arrive in the country in mid-February.
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