(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Monday, 10 May 2021) Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) affecting Southern Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Caraga Region will experience Cloudy skies with scattered rainshowers and thunderstorms due to Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). Possible flash floods or landslides during moderate to at times heavy rains. Light to moderate winds coming from East to Southeast will prevail with slight to moderate seas/(0.6 to 2.1 meters).

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

President Duterte to certify as urgent bills fast tracking COVID-19 vaccine negotiations, deliveries

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has expressed his readiness Monday, February 15, to certify as urgent the passage of bills creating an indemnification agreement and advance market commitment to speed up coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine negotiations and deliveries.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte talks to the people after holding a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members at the Arcadia Active Lifestyle Center in Matina, Davao City on February 15, 2021. ALBERTO ALCAIN/ PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

In his report to President Duterte, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said the country is finalizing the preparations for the massive vaccination program, noting that stakeholders are just awaiting the signing of an indemnification clause as well as advance market commitment.

“Kasi po ngayon na-i-accomplish na natin ‘yong ating tinatawag na documentation. Ang kailangan na lang po nila is mapirmahan ‘yong tinatawag na indemnification agreement,” Galvez told the President during a meeting on government’s COVID-19 interventions.

“Kung magkasundo na po sa indemnification agreement, wala na po tayong hadlang kasi mayroon na po tayong preparation. Okay na po ang preparation natin,” the vaccine czar added.

An indemnification clause refers to the agreement reached between stakeholders identifying the party that would take responsibility in case those receiving the jabs experienced adverse side effects.

Apart from the indemnification agreement, Galvez said they are also waiting for local government units’ (LGUs) approval of the Gavi COVAX advance market commitment (AMC), an investment mechanism supporting low-income countries get access to COVID-19 vaccines.

Galvez said he is currently communicating with lawmakers, particularly with Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go, to fast-track the passage of the two pending bills. Senator Go said the President may certify the measures as urgent this week.

Assuring the President that Philippines is on top of COVID-19 vaccine program preparations, Galvez said they have already fulfilled requirements and agreements with international organizations and companies to proceed with the nationwide inoculation.

These include securing an emergency use authorization (EUA) for vaccines as well as providing necessary documents to the World Health Organization (WHO), COVAX Facility and Gavi, he said.

The country is expecting to receive up to 3 million vaccine doses by the end February from the COVAX Facility, a global alliance seeking to help poor countries vaccinate their population against the deadly coronavirus.

Pfizer, Sinovac, Moderna Therapeutics, Novavax, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, CanSino Biologics Inc. and Gamaleya Research Institute are among the pharmaceutical companies that the Philippines is negotiating with to procure COVID-19 vaccines.

The Department of Health (DOH) has recorded 1,685 new COVID-19 infections on February 15, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 550, 860 with 511, 755 recoveries and 11, 517 deaths. PND