The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said Monday that local government units are free to choose which COVID-19 brand they want for their constituents.
During the Laging Handa press briefing, DILG spokesperson Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya would need to coordinate with the national government before signing the deal with the pharmaceutical companies.
“Pag ang usapin po ay LGU procurement, the LGUs are free to negotiate with whatever pharmaceutical company they would wish to negotiate. Bukas po ‘yan so lahat po ng posible na kausapin nila ay puwede nilang kausapin,” Malaya said.
“Ang pakiusap lang po namin bago magpirmahan ay kailangan coordinated with the National Task Force COVID-19 particularly po si vaccine czar General Carlito Galvez,” he said.
“Ang dahilan po niyan, kailangang masiguro natin ‘yung kalidad ng bibilhing vaccines at the same time ‘yung distribution nito sa bansa at pangatlo para masigurong FDA-approved lamang ‘yung bibilhin ng local government units,” Galvez said.
Cainta Mayor Johnielle Keith “Kit” Nieto earlier withdrew the negotiation with a Chinese pharmaceutical firm as his constituents reject vaccines coming from China.
“Sabi ko noong makatlo, may confidentiality agreement na akong pinirmahan with AstraZeneca. Tapos nabanggit ko na mag-nego ‘yung team natin with a Chinese company na mag-augment sana ng vaccine kung kulang ang mabibigay sa atin ng Astra,” Nieto said in a Facebook post.
LGUs free to choose COVID-19 vaccine brand for constituents – DILG
“Tapos daming comment sa thread na ayaw ng vaccine galing China. Eh ‘di ‘wag nating bilhin, sus. ‘Yun lang pala. Ang gusto ko lang naman, mabigyan lahat,” he added.
Various LGUs have entered into an agreement with AstraZeneca for their respective vaccination programs.
Meanwhile, Malacañang said Monday President Rodrigo Duterte still wants to be the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in the Philippines if doing such could increase the public’s confidence in getting the vaccine.
“Kung sa tingin niya (President Duterte) ay natatakot ang mga tao sa bakuna ay hindi naman po siya mag-aatubili na mauna,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said on Unang Balita.
The Palace official was responding to Vice President Leni Robredo‘s statement that Duterte should be the first to get a vaccine against the virus to alleviate the public’s fear of getting the vaccine.