DOH, NTF blocking firms from procuring COVID-19 vaccines -- Marcos | Inquirer News

DOH, NTF blocking firms from procuring COVID-19 vaccines — Marcos

By: - Reporter / @KHallareINQ
/ 06:51 PM March 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Imee Marcos on Saturday bared that the Department of Health (DOH) and the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 are blocking several industries in the Philippines from procuring their own COVID-19 vaccines.

In a statement, Marcos, who chairs the Senate committee on economic affairs, said that she has a copy of a draft administrative order preventing the country’s largest manufacturers of tobacco, milk, sugar, soft drinks, and alcohol, as well as multinational firms based in the Philippines from assisting the government’s national vaccination program.

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The draft administrative order, Marcos said, is about to be passed for President Rodrigo Duterte’s signature.

“That means the entire San Miguel group, the whole Lucio Tan group, Puregold, Nestle, Destileria Limtuaco, all soft drinks producers, Tanduay, Ginebra, White Castle, et cetera,” Marcos said.

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“Kapag di makabili ng mga bakuna itong mga malahiganteng kumpanyang ito, na 50 percent ido-donate sa publiko dahil walang pera ang gubyerno, paano pa tayo makakadagdag ng bakuna?,” Marcos added.

(If these giant companies cannot buy vaccines, 50% of which will be donated to the public because the government lacks funding, how else will we acquire more vaccines?)

Marcos explained that the administrative order will not only slow down the  vaccination program, which targets 70 percent of the population to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity but also “diminish the government’s ability to generate much-needed revenue to fund its national vaccination program.”

“We are about to see a total wipeout of the 50-percent donation of vaccines by these large companies, donations which are stipulated in each tripartite agreement among private entities, vaccine manufacturers, and the government,” Marcos said.

She then cited section 5 of the draft administrative order stating that the NTF and the DOH shall review all requests of private entities to procure vaccines “to ensure that private entities who will be part of the agreement are not in any way related to the tobacco industry, products covered under  Executive Order 51 series of 1986 or the ‘National Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, Breastmilk Supplement and Other Related Products’ or other products in conflict with public health.”

Similarly, Quezon City Rep. Precious Hipolito Castelo urged the government to allow private companies to import tax-free COVID-19 vaccines for employees and their families.

INQUIRER.net has reached out to the DOH and NTF Against COVID-19 chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr.’s comment on the matter but has yet to get a response as of this writing.

/MUF
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TAGS: COVID-19 Vaccine, Department of Health, DoH, Imee Marcos, National Task Force against COVID-19, NTF
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