THE Senate passed on third and final reading a bill which will expedite the purchase and administration of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines to Filipinos.
With 22 affirmative votes, no negative vote and no abstentions, the Senate in its hybrid plenary session, approved Senate Bill (SB) 2057 or the Covid-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021.
Sen. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, chairman of the Committee on Finance and sponsor of the bill, said the proposed measure will expedite the purchase and administration of Covid-19 vaccines that will pave the way for economic recovery in the country.
SB 2057, in consideration of SB 2056 or the Vaccine Indemnification Fund bill authored by Senate President Vicente C. Sotto 3rd , is a consolidation of Senate bills and proposed resolutions authored by Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, Sens. Angara, Pilar Julian “Pia” Cayetano, Maria Imelda Josefa “Imee” Marcos, Mary Grace Poe, and Ramon Bong Revilla Jr.
In his sponsorship speech, Angara said the measure aims to expedite the procurement and administration of the vaccines by:
• authorizing the Department of Health (DoH) and the National Task Force against Covid-19 to undertake negotiated procurement of Covid-19 vaccines and the needed supplies and services for their storage, transport and distribution;
• allowing provinces, cities, and municipalities to purchase Covid-19 vaccines and needed supplies and services;
• allowing private entities to purchase vaccines subject to similar restrictions and conditions set for local government units and only for the sole and exclusive use of these private entities;
• exempting from customs duties, value-added tax, excise tax, donor’s tax and other fees and charges levied on the procured Covid-19 vaccines and the necessary supplies for their storage, transport and distribution.
“Through the aforementioned steps, we hope to break down some regulatory barriers. We hope to free up some resources and empower as many government instrumentalities as we can towards the fast procurement and expeditious roll out of Covid-19 vaccinations,” Angara said.